Biography and career
Znaider was born in Copenhagen to Polish-Jewish parents. His father had originally emigrated to Israel from Poland, and his mother's family had settled in Denmark before World War II. He studied with the eminent Russian pedagogue Boris Kuschnir and drawing on this eclectic background his playing has been heralded in The Strad magazine as "extraordinarily intelligent, soulful and impassioned, yet without a hint of indulgence" and the Chicago Tribune said "Perhaps not since the young Gidon Kremer burst upon the violin world in 1970 has a violinist caused quite the stir of Nikolaj Znaider."
In June 1992 at the age of 16 he won the first prize of the 4th International Carl Nielsen International Music Competition, and in 1997 he was a winner of one of the most respected musical contests in the world: the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels. He went on to study with the pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard School of Music.
He plays the Guarneri “del Gesu” violin built in 1741 and previously played by the legendary violinist Fritz Kreisler. The violin is thus known as the "Ex-Kreisler Guarnerius," and is on loan to Znaider from the Royal Danish Theater.
Znaider has also taken up conducting - in October 2010 he began his tenure as Principal Guest Conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra - and has also recorded chamber music with such musicians as Daniel Barenboim, with whom he recorded the Mozart piano trios, along with cellist Kyril Zlotnikov of the Jerusalem Quartet.
Znaider is passionate about the education of musical talent and was Founder and Artistic Director of the Nordic Music Academy, an annual summer school whose vision is to create conscious and focused musical development based on quality and commitment.
Znaider's most recent recordings include the Brahms and Korngold violin concertos, recorded live in Vienna's Musikvereinssaal with the Vienna Philharmonic led by Valery Gergiev, and released in the USA in February 2009.
- Jessica Duchen (November 23, 2010). "Interview: Nikolaj Znaider". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- "Violinist Nikolaj Znaider's Search for Perfection". Strings. November 2002. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
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