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Gil Shaham wins Avery Fisher Prize

New York, NY, November 25, 2008 – Violinist Gil Shaham was, in his own words, “dumbfounded” to learn that he had won the 2008 Avery Fisher Prize,
one of classical music’s most coveted honors. Conductor Gustavo
Dudamel, a close musical friend with whom Shaham performed in New York
last November, was the surprise guest who handed the award to Shaham
last Thursday following the violinist’s nationally-televised
performance on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center. “The prize is
for people who have really reached the pinnacle of their career,”
Nathan Leventhal, chairman of the Avery Fisher Artist Program, told the
150-member audience on hand at the Kaplan Penthouse, where Shaham had
just finished his tribute to the legendary Spanish violinist and
composer Pablo de Sarasate, who died 100 years ago.

The broadcast and award came just two days after Shaham released a recording of Elgar’s epic Violin Concerto
on his own Canary Classics label. That recording, featuring David
Zinman conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has begun to receive
strong critical acclaim, including an enthusiastic review in the
soon-to-be-published December issue of Gramophone. Edward Greenfield observes:

is good to welcome an all-American performance of this most British of
concertos that is so thrillingly passionate. David Zinman has said that
of all concertos this is his favorite, something confirmed in the
playing he draws from the Chicago Symphony, its richness as well as its
characteristic polish…The recording is taken from live performances,
and that adds to the impact, with the opulent sound matching the
playing…The playing of the orchestra finds a perfect counterpart in the
performance of Gil Shaham, always one of the most sensitive and
responsive of the high-powered violin virtuosos.”

is currently in Europe performing, among other things, an all-Sarasate
program in Spain with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla, his favorite
violinist (and his wife), Adele Anthony, and pianist Akira Eguchi.
Shaham will record the Sarasate works in Spain for future release on
Canary Classics. He returns to the U.S. in December to prepare for a
series of performances in the U.S. including Brahms’s Violin Concerto
with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (January 8 – 10), three Brahms
chamber music programs at Zankel Hall (beginning January 13) and
Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at
Walt Disney Concert Hall (January 22, 24 and 25) and in Irvine (January
23). Earlier this month, Shaham played the Khachaturian Concerto with
the New York Philharmonic, prompting a New York Times critic
to write: “Mr. Shaham, a highly physical player, appeared to be
thoroughly enjoying himself, often walking over to the podium and
smiling broadly at Mr. Boreyko. His enthusiasm came across in his
playing, with his powerful, luscious tone particularly admirable in the
first-movement cadenza and the soulful interludes of the slow second

Gil Shaham discussed his Avery Fisher Prize and new Elgar recording this past weekend on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. That interview can be heard at this link:

For additional information about Gil Shaham and his recordings, visit

Gil Shaham: upcoming performances

Nov 25 – 30: Brahms Violin Concerto with Orquesta Nacional de España (Valladolid and Madrid, Spain)

Dec 1, 2: Sarasate program, with Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León; Adele Anthony; Akira Eguchi (Valladolid, Spain)

Dec 8: Mozart Violin Concerto No. 2 and Stravinsky Violin Concerto with BBC Symphony Orchestra / Robertson (London, UK)

Dec 14: Linton Chamber Music Series anniversary concert (Cincinnati, OH)

Jan 8-10, 2009: Brahms Violin Concerto with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Roberto Abbado (Atlanta, GA)

Jan 13: “Shaham and Friends play Brahms”: Program 1 of 3 at Zankel Hall (New York, NY)

Jan 22, 24, 25: Khachaturian Violin Concerto with Los Angeles Philharmonic / Denève (Los Angeles, CA)

Jan 23: Khachaturian Violin Concerto with Los Angeles Philharmonic / Denève (Irvine, CA)

Feb 4: Brahms chamber music at the Mike Lazaridis Theatre of Ideas (Ontario, Canada)

6: “Shaham and Friends play Brahms”: Program 2 of 3 at Zankel Hall (New
York, NY) Feb 9: “Shaham and Friends play Brahms”: Program 3 of 3 at
Zankel Hall (New York, NY)

Feb 14: Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the Lexington Symphony / Nardolillo (Lexington, KY)

Feb 19-21: Stravinsky Violin Concerto with Cleveland Orchestra / Petrenko (Cleveland, OH)

Feb 26-28: Stravinsky Violin Concerto with National Symphony Orchestra / Xian Zhang (Washington, DC)

March 26-29: Khachaturian Violin Concerto with Philadelphia Orchestra / Krivine (Philadelphia, PA)

2-6: U.S. tour with Sejong, the conductorless string orchestra: Haydn
Violin Concertos in C major and G major and Mendelssohn Octet

April 23-26: Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 with Munich Philharmonic / Thielemann (Munich, Germany)

May 12, 13: Brahms Violin Concerto with Montreal Symphony / Nagano (Montreal, Canada)

June 3: Bolcom Violin Concerto with Toronto Symphony / Slatkin (Toronto, Canada)

June 10-13: Berg Violin Concerto with San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco, CA)

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