Gary Bertini was born Shloyme Golergant in Bricheva, Bessarabia, then in Romania, now in Donduşeni District, Moldova. His father, K. A. Bertini (Aron Golergant), was a poet and translator of the Russian (Leonid Andereyev) and Yiddish (A.Sutzkever, H. Leivick) literature into Hebrew, and of the Hebrew works into Yiddish. His mother Berta Golergant was a physician and biologist. They immigrated to Palestine in 1946. Gary studied music at the Music Teachers' College in Tel Aviv and then in Milan, Italy, and at the Paris Conservatoire.
Upon returning to Israel, Gary Bertini established Rinat (the Israel Chamber Choir) in 1955. He was musical advisor to the Batsheva Dance Company and composed incidental music for numerous productions of Habima, the Israel national theater, and the Cameri Theatre. He founded the Israel Chamber Orchestra in 1965 and was its conductor until 1975. He was conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 1986. He was artistic director of the New Israeli Opera from 1994 until his death. He promoted Israeli music and helped shape it.
Bertini's work also took him outside Israel. He was music advisor to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1981 to 1983 and the Principal Conductor of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1983 until 1991. He also served as general music director of the Opern- und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt from 1987 to 1990, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2005, and, just before he died, director of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. He also worked as a guest conductor with the Hamburg State Opera, Scottish Opera, La Scala, Opéra National de Paris, and the Berlin Philharmonic among other organizations.
- In 1978, Bertini was awarded the Israel Prize, for music;
- In 1995, he won the Conductor of the Year award; and
- In 1995, he also won the Fermio Abiatti Prize of the Italian Music Critics Union.
- "Obituaries: Theodor Uppman, stalwart Met baritone, dies at eighty-five; conductor Gary Bertini; editor Elizabeth S. Crow; sopranos Dorothy Dow and Una Hale; author William Murray; musicologist Stanley Sadie; impresario James Stuart". Opera News 69 (12). June 2005. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
- MusicWeb International review
- Classics Today.com review
- Gramophone.net review
- "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1978 (in Hebrew)".
- Short biography in Hebrew
- Obituary of Gary Bertini in The Independent (London)
- Memorial essay on Gary Bertini by Michal Smoira-Cohn for the Israel Music Institute
- Interview with Gary Bertini by Bruce Duffie, September 12, 1990
|Principal Conductor, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
|Music Director, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
|Music Director, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples