Miri Ben-Ari

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Miri Ben-Ari
Miri Ben-Ari in 2004[citation needed]
Miri Ben-Ari in 2004[citation needed]
Background information
Birth nameMiri Ben-Ari
Also known as
  • United Nations Goodwill Ambassador of Music
  • The Hip Hop Violinist
TED talk speaker, Grammy Award Winning violinist-producer
Born (1978-12-04) December 4, 1978 (age 43)
Tel Aviv District, Israel
Occupation(s)Violinist, producer, composer
Years active1999–present

Miri Ben-Ari (Hebrew: מירי בן-ארי; born December 4, 1978) is an American-Israeli violinist, producer, humanitarian, “Goodwill Ambassador of Music” to the United Nations, and a TED speaker.

Life and career[edit]

Ben-Ari was born in Tel Aviv District,[1] Israel. She grew up playing classical music;[2] she started training at age 5[3] and at age 12, she was presented with a violin by Isaac Stern.[4] During her mandatory military service, she served playing for the Israel Defense Forces Orchestra.[5] During her stint in the Israeli military, she heard an album by Charlie Parker and immediately fell in love with jazz; she later said "My soul was sold."[6] Following her service, she moved from Israel to New York[7] in hopes of using her classical training on stage[2] and attended the Jazz department at The New School, but was expelled after two semesters due to poor attendance caused by Ben-Ari playing gigs to pay the rent.[4][6]

She released her first solo CD Sahara in 1999.

Her persistence earned her an appearance on BET's 106 & Park; the viewer response netted her a return visit a few weeks later. Her performances caught the eye of Jay-Z, who invited her to play as one of the headliners of New York radio station Hot 97's annual Summer Jam concert in 2001, where she netted a standing ovation.[4][5] Around the same time, a mutual friend introduced Ben-Ari to Wyclef Jean, who invited her to perform with him at his Carnegie Hall show, the first by a hip-hop artist at the venue.[8]

In 2003, she released her second CD Temple of Beautiful, and followed that up with a live CD the following year entitled Live at the Blue Note.

She won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song in 2005 as one of the co-writers of Kanye West's "Jesus Walks".[9] In 2005, she released her fourth CD and first to focus on hip-hop style, entitled The Hip-Hop Violinist. As part of the promotion for it, she was part of Reebok's "I Am What I Am" global advertising campaign; Reebok was also part of the video for the first single from the CD, "We Gonna Win".[10]

In 2006, she co-founded Gedenk (Yiddish for "remember"), an organization dedicated to promoting education about the Holocaust in the United States.[3][11]

In 2007 she received the International Jewish Woman To Watch of 2007 Award and in 2008 she received the "2008 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award," "The Jewish Federation" award and "the American Society for Yad Vashem" Award.[12]

In 2009, she released Symphony of Brotherhood, an instrumental track featuring Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. In part due to the song, she received the first Martin Luther King Jr. Israeli Award in January 2008 at a ceremony hosted by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres.[13]

In March 2011, Ben-Ari was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama as part of a Women's History Month celebration,[3] to perform and to be honored as a "remarkable Woman". In July 2011 she performed at the 2011 Miss Universe China pageant.[1] and in October 2011 she performed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Presidential memorial dedication in Washington, DC.

In 2011, she was named by Ynet as one of the 10 most influential Israelis in America.[14]

In 2012, Ben-Ari was invited to perform for U.S. President Barack Obama.[15]

In 2013 she was appointed as "Goodwill Ambassador of Music" at the United Nations Association-Brazil.

In 2013 she was featured in the trance song Intense by DJ and producer Armin Van Buuren. The track was the title track of Van Buuren's album Intense and was chosen as the "Tune of the Year" of 2013 by A State Of Trance

Miri Ben-Ari is signed with the Harman Kardon brand as a Beautiful Sound artist to be featured globally in advertisements and in special appearances as an ambassador for the Harman Kardon "Beautiful Sound" brand campaign.

In 2014 she was honored with the "Aviv Award" by The America-Israel Cultural Foundation 75th Anniversary Gala at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, hosted by Itzhak Perlman and introduced by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and CEO of Harman International Dinesh Paliwal. Ben-Ari was a special guest feature with Arianna Huffingtons THIRD METRIC LIVE and Armin Van Buuren ARMIN ONLY-INTENSE world tour. She became a featured blogger for the Huffington and was chosen by top Israeli news media Mako and Ynet as one of the top ten most influential Israelis now living in the United States.

In 2015 Following the great success of its first year, Ben-Ari continues to promote "The Gedenk Award For Tolerance" campaign, now in its second year partnership with Alliance for Young Artists & Writers sponsored by Ben-Ari's non-profit organization GEDENK. Ben-Ari received the first-ever "Girl Up Advocate Award" to celebrate international Women's Day from the United Nations Foundation and is the recipient of the 2015 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.[16]

A longtime resident of Bergen County, New Jersey, Ben-Ari moved from Edgewater to Fort Lee in 2016.[17]

In 2018 she released the single "Quiet Storm". Ben-Ari was featured by Tanzanian recording artist Diamond Platnumz on the song "Baila". The song won in 2019 "Best Collaboration Award" by African Entertainment Awards USA.

In 2019 Ben-Ari produced and released a single "Watcha Gonna Do" featuring her son Dorel. That year she started collaborating with Nigerian producer Young D. "The Beat Boss" for the project "Afrostringz'. The duo released a holiday song "Afro Christmas".

In 2020 Ben-Ari and her music partner Young D. launched the music group "Afrostringz" with a first single and music video "She Don't Know". Ben-Ari was appointed by NJ Governor Phil Murphy as a member of the New Jersey-Israel commission. In 2021 Ben-Ari became a TED speaker delivering TED talks dedicated to creativity and entrepreneurship "How to make the violin cool" and harmony & diversity "4 ways to strive with harmony]".

In 2022 Ben-Ari released the song "Symphony of Brotherhood Rise" with superstar rapper Flo Rida and Erik E. "Smooth" Hicks, featuring Dr. Martin King Jr with the iconic speech "I have a dream", a special release for Dr. Martin Luther King Day. The song entered the official Spotify MLK playlist.



  • 1999: Sahara
  • 2000: Song of the Promised Land
  • 2003: Temple of Beautiful
  • 2004: Live at the Blue Note
  • 2005: The Hip-Hop Violinist


Year Single Chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. R&B Singles Sales U.S. Singles Sales
2005 "Run This City" (Clinton Sparks feat. P. Diddy & Miri Ben-Ari) 107 The Pulling Strings Mixtape
"Sunshine to the Rain" (feat. Scarface and Anthony Hamilton) The Hip-Hop Violinist
"We Gonna Win" (feat. Styles P)
2006 "Symphony of Brotherhood" 77 2 15

Featured on[edit]

Miscellaneous, unreleased and remixes[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cohen, Eva (1 July 2011). "Israeli makes history: Ben-Ari will play at Miss Universe China". Jewish Independent. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b Reid, Shaheem (1 March 2004). "Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Enlists Mya, Fabolous, Kanye West For Hip-Hop Debut". MTV. Archived from the original on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Leichman, Abigail Klein (28 June 2011). "Miri Ben-Ari: Hip-hop violinist and humanitarian". israel21c.org. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Khazzoom, Loolwa (23 September 2005). "Kanye West Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Debuts". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Grapham, Renee (2 October 2005). "Violinist has the hip-hop world on a string". The Boston Globe. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b Rogovoy, Seth (3 November 2000). "Miri Ben-Ari". berkshireweb.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  7. ^ Sommer, Allison Kaplan (15 April 2011). "Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari: A Role Model for Our Daughters". The Jewish Daily Forward. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  8. ^ Gonshor, Adam (4 April 2004). "Violin is the Voice of Miri Ben-Ari | andPOP.com". andpop.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Rap News Network - Hip-Hop News: Hip Hop Violinist Wins Grammy". rapnews.net. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  10. ^ "Reebok and Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Make Beautiful Music Together with First-of-its Kind Partnership" (Press release). Reebok. 25 August 2005. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  11. ^ Perez, Daniel (1 April 2011). "Yad Vashim Young Leadership Hosts Gala in Support of Holocaust Awareness" (PDF). The Jewish Voice. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  12. ^ MLB entertainment
  13. ^ "Miri Ben-Ari Receives Martin Luther King Jr. Award". Jewish Santa Barbara. Archived from the original on 8 January 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  14. ^ "ynet 100 הישראלים המובילים באמריקה - ידיעות אמריקה" (in Hebrew). Ynet. 18 July 2011. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  15. ^ Cahill, Greg (2 October 2014). "Violinist Miri Ben-Ari to Perform at Nobel Prize Event". All Things Strings. San Rafael, CA: String Letter Publishing. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  16. ^ Alliance for Young Artists & Writers#Sponsored Awards
  17. ^ Beckerman, Jim. "Pioneering pop and hip-hop violinist to visit Englewood's Elisabeth Morrow School", The Record (Bergen County), August 15, 2016. Accessed August 16, 2016. "But Ben-Ari, who just moved to Fort Lee a few months ago — previously she had lived in Edgewater — will be stopping by Elisabeth Morrow in person Tuesday to teach a master class, give an in-school performance (not open to the public), and get the 200-plus students prepared for their big day Thursday."

External links[edit]