Press Room

Gil Shaham plays Brahms with SFSO (Nov 23-26) and BSO (Dec 10)

Having just added Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award to his numerous honors, master violinist Gil Shaham drew warm praise for his season-opening performances of Brahms’s Violin Concerto with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. The New York Times reported that “he played with his customary depth and charisma, particularly impressive in the first-movement cadenza,” while Lehigh Valley Music noted, “Shaham’s wild flights of virtuoso fancy, especially in the spellbinding first movement cadenza, never came at the price of structural integrity.” Now the Avery Fisher Prize-winner looks forward to performing Brahms’s masterpiece with full orchestra in three concerts with the San Francisco Symphony and its Music Director, Michael Tilson Thomas (Nov 23-26), before returning to California to reprise the work with the Boston Symphony on tour at L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (Dec 10).
For all the success of his creative and original programming in such projects as “Violin Concertos of the 1930s,” Shaham remains second to none in the mainstream masterworks of the violin. His relationship with Brahms’s Violin Concerto, the pinnacle of the Romantic repertory, is longstanding. The violinist explains: “It’s a piece everybody knows and loves, and could well be the greatest violin concerto ever written.” On his Deutsche Grammophon recording with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic, Shaham’s rendition “offers playing of ‘Golden Age’ caliber…as perfectly judged as any you will ever hear” (Classics Today). Following a concert performance with the Detroit Symphony under Peter Oundjian, the Detroit Free Press noted that “Shaham’s playing was all about honeyed sound, lyrical melody, and the Russian-Romantic soul,” while the Detroit News wrote, “This was not heated, rhapsodic Brahms but songful and expansive, especially in Shaham’s caressing treatment of the slow movement.” As the New York Times observed, after a performance with the Met Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, “Mr. Shaham and indeed Brahms could do no wrong.”
The violinist’s association with Tilson Thomas is a similarly rich one, spanning more than two decades of collaboration that date back to Shaham’s first big break when, while still at school, he was invited to replace an ailing Itzhak Perlman as soloist with Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra. The violinist and conductor have continued to work together at every opportunity, and, with the San Francisco Symphony, have forged such an immeasurable rapport that the San Francisco Chronicle was moved to suggest: “Here’s a modest proposal: How about if Gil Shaham, Michael Tilson Thomas, and the San Francisco Symphony simply agreed to perform…together on a regular basis?” For their three performances at the orchestra’s home in San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, the Brahms concerto will share the program with Schoenberg’s orchestration of Brahms’s First Piano Quartet, and Wagner’s Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin.
Shaham also plays the Brahms concerto with the Boston Symphony and guest conductor Ludovic Morlot on tour in Los Angeles (Dec 10), and in two performances with the Delaware Symphony under David Amado (Nov 18 & 19).
Additional information about Gil Shaham is available at, and a list of his upcoming engagements follows.
Gil Shaham – selected upcoming engagements
Nov 18 & 19; Wilmington, DE
Grand Opera House
Delaware Symphony
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Nov 23, 25, & 26; San Francisco, CA
Davies Symphony Hall
San Francisco Symphony
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Dec 10; Los Angeles, CA
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Ludovic Morlot
Brahms: Violin Concerto
Dec 14 & 15; Paris, France
Salle Pleyel
Paris Orchestra / James Conlon
Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14
Dec 17; Tel Aviv, Israel
Mann Auditorium
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1
Follow Gil Shaham on Facebook
Follow Gil Shaham on Twitter


Return to Press Room