Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim (“Fima”) Bronfman is among the most talented virtuosos performing today. His commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide for his solo recitals, prestigious orchestral engagements and expanding catalogue of recordings.
Mr. Bronfman’s 2011/12 US season begins with the Chicago Symphony’s opening Gala conducted by Ricardo Muti followed by return engagements to the orchestras in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, Portland, OR, Kansas City and a residency with the Cleveland Orchestra in Miami, Cleveland and New York focusing on the concerti and chamber music of Brahms. A recital tour in winter will culminate with Carnegie Hall followed by the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s concerto commissioned for him by the New York Philharmonic with whom he will tour the west coast in the spring.
In Europe he will complete a two-season project of the three Bartók concerti with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen in London, Spain, Brussels and give recitals in Amsterdam, Vienna, Frankfurt, Milan and Lucerne. In partnership with Emmanuel Pahud he will visit Spain, Turkey, Denmark and London where he will return in the spring for concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas followed by a tour with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen. In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic he will join the orchestra in two orchestral concerts and in a solo recital in December.
His 2010/11 US season highlights included recitals in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as performances of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto with the orchestras of Houston, Cincinnati and Saint Louis and Brahms’ second with the orchestras of Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. He also made return concerto appearances in Seattle, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal and Washington. With long-time friend and collaborator Pinchas Zukerman, he appeared in duo recital in Princeton, Kansas City, Chicago, Boston and Carnegie Hall.
In Europe he toured with the Vienna Philharmonic playing the concerto written for him by Esa-Pekka Salonen. In partnership with Berlin’s Staatskapelle and Daniel Barenboim all three Bartók concerti were again featured in programs in Berlin, Vienna and Paris. Return engagements in Europe included the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Israel Philharmonic, London Symphony, Frankfurt Radio and Munich Philharmonic.
The 2009-10 season saw several major triumphs for Bronfman both on the stage and on CD. His recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto with the composer conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) category and was named one of the best recordings of 2009 by the Washington Post. On stage, Salonen and Bronfman toured the work (which was written especially for him) at the Edinburgh, Helsinki, and Lucerne Festivals (Bronfman served as Artiste Étoile in Switzerland). A major event of early 2010 was the pianist’s participation in Alan Gilbert’s first European tour as music director of the New York Philharmonic. They performed Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto together in Barcelona, Cologne, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Zurich. Recitals figured largely in Bronfman’s season: he toured Japan in November, and the European and North American cities he visited in the spring included Rome, Vienna, Warsaw, St. Paul, and Toronto, as well as New York, where he gave his annual solo performance at Carnegie Hall.
As an “On Location” artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 2008-09 season, Bronfman gave concerts during two subscription weeks, toured the Far East with the orchestra under Maestro Salonen, and gave a chamber music concert with orchestra musicians. In addition, he undertook a solo recital tour of the U.S. and Europe, and a duo recital tour with Emanuel Ax. He opened both the San Francisco Symphony and the New York Philharmonic seasons, and performed with the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Montreal, and Toronto Symphonies. In Europe he concertized with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre Nationale de France, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic (at the Salzburg Festival), and London’s Philharmonia. He closed out his season as the first classical musician “guest chef” on the hugely popular US TV program Iron Chef America.
In previous seasons, Bronfman was a “Perspectives” artist at Carnegie Hall, and he has appeared with the world’s finest orchestras and conductors, including the Vienna Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra with James Levine, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He participated in the Israel Philharmonic’s 70th birthday celebrations in concerts conducted by Zubin Mehta and Valery Gergiev. In 1991, he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking his first public performances there since his emigration to Israel with his family at age 15. Also in 1991, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists.
A devoted chamber musician, Bronfman has collaborated with the Emerson, Cleveland, Guarneri, and Juilliard String Quartets, as well as with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has also performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Shlomo Mintz, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Pinchas Zukerman, and many other artists.
Bronfman’s discography is large and varied, abounding with solo recitals, concertos, and chamber music. He won a Grammy Award in 1997 for the three Bartók Piano Concertos with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has recorded the complete Prokofiev piano sonatas, the five Prokofiev piano concertos, and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3, and has been nominated for both Grammy and Gramophone Awards. His most recent releases are a disc of compositions by Esa-Pekka Salonen, including the Piano Concerto composed for him, recorded with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; a recital disc, Perspectives, which complemented his Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” series; and all Beethoven’s piano concertos and Triple Concerto, with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under David Zinman.
With Isaac Stern, Bronfman recorded Brahms’s and Bartók’s violin sonatas and a cycle of Mozart sonatas for violin and piano. In addition to performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on the Fantasia 2000 soundtrack, Bronfman recorded Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet and his two piano concertos with the orchestra under Salonen. Bronfman and Emanuel Ax have recorded two-piano works by Rachmaninov and Brahms for Sony Classical. His 2008 release of Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A minor with Gil Shaham and Truls Mork earned high praise.
Yefim Bronfman was born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union on April 10, 1958, and moved to Israel with his family in 1973. He studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University, and made his international debut with Zubin Mehta and the Montreal Symphony. Moving with his family to the US in 1976, he studied at the Juilliard School, Marlboro, and the Curtis Institute, with Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He made his New York Philharmonic debut in May 1978, his Washington recital debut in March 1981 at the Kennedy Center, and his New York recital debut in January 1982 at the 92nd Street Y.
Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989.