Home > Jury

Shmuel ASHKENASI

 

Born in Tel Aviv in 1941, Shmuel Ashkenasi began his musical training at the Music Academy of Tel Aviv in the class of legendary pedagogue Ilona Feher. He arrived in the United States in 1958 and studied with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

He later won 1st prize in the Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, D.C., was a finalist in the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, and captured 2nd prize at the 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. As a result, he was signed and managed by Sol Hurok.

He was soloist with many leading orchestras, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Moscow, and Tokyo, to name a few. He has been the choice of many of the world's most distinguished conductors, such as Stokowski, Böhm, Kempe, Leinsdorf, and Kubelik.

His recording of the Paganini Violin Concertos Numbers 1 and 2, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra on the Deutsche Grammophon label, is still available after more than 50 years. Additionally, he has recorded both Beethoven Romances and the Mozart A Major Concerto, on the Tudor label.

He performed Sonata recitals with the likes of Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, and Menahem Pressler, and also collaborated with the likes of Rudolf Serkin, Emanuel Ax, Beverly Sills, Thomas Hampson, Michael Tree, Arnold Steinhardt, and Pinchas Zukerman.

In 1969, Ashkenasi formed the famed Vermeer Quartet and remained its first violinist throughout the quartet’s 39-year career. With performances in practically every major city and prestigious music festival in North and South America, Europe, the Far East, and Australia, the Vermeer Quartet achieved international stature as one of the world’s finest classical music ensembles, and a number of their recordings were nominated for Grammy awards. The Vermeer Quartet’s discography includes the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Bartók, and works by Schubert, Brahms, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Schnittke, Verdi, Haydn, Britten and Dvořák.

Ashkenasi is also a noted pedagogue, previously teaching at Northern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, Rutgers University, and Luebeck Hochschule, and is currently a Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College.