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Shlomo Mintz (Hebrew: שלמה מינץ) (born 30 October 1957) is an Israeli violin virtuoso, violist and conductor. He regularly appears with orchestras and conductors on the international scene and is heard in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world.
Shlomo Mintz was born in Moscow. In 1959, when he was two, his family immigrated to Israel, where he studied with Ilona Feher, one of the last representatives of the Central European violin school. Feher introduced Shlomo Mintz to Isaac Stern, who became his mentor. He was also a student of Dorothy DeLay in New York.
Mintz began his career at age 11 as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Soon afterwards, he was called on a week's notice by Zubin Mehta to play Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 6, with the orchestra when Itzhak Perlman fell ill. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of sixteen with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the auspices of Isaac Stern and the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, and subsequently studied with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. At the age of 20, he made an extensive tour through Europe with famous conductors such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Antal Dorati and Eugene Ormandy. He also signed, still in his early twenties, a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
In 1997 he played Paganini's famous "Il Cannone", a violin made by Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù in 1742, during a special concert in Maastricht in the Netherlands with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and conductor Yoel Levi, which was arranged on the initiative of a Dutch television network (TROS) and aired on TV in December 1997. In 2012, he celebrated his 50th year on the concert stage.
Career as conductor and artistic director
At the age of eighteen, Mintz launched a parallel career as a conductor, and has since led acclaimed orchestras worldwide including the Royal Philharmonic (United Kingdom), the NHK Symphony (Japan) and the Israel Philharmonic. He was music advisor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra from 1989 to 1993, and in March 1994 was appointed artistic advisor and principal guest conductor of the Maastricht Symphony in the Netherlands, which he led for some weeks during four seasons, sometimes as both conductor and violin soloist. In 2008, he became principal guest conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic. From 2002 to 2012, he was artistic director of the Sion-Valais International Music Festival.
Mintz gives master classes worldwide, including in Crans Montana (CH) Crans Montana Classics since summer 2012. He is mentor and jury president of the International Violin Competition in Buenos Aires Violin Buenos Aires, and president of the Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition Japan.
He has served as a jury member of other international competitions, including the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1993) and the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels (1993 and 2001). In October 2001, he was jury president of the International Henryk Wieniawski Competition for the Violin in Poznań, Poland.
From 2002 to 2011, he was jury president of the Sion Valais-International Violin Competition in Switzerland.
He was one of the founders of the Keshet Eilon International Violin Mastercourse in Israel, an advanced-level summer program for young talented violinists from all around the world in Kibbutz Eilon, Israel, and served as a patron there for eighteen years (1992-2010).
Violins of Hope
Mintz is one of the main actors in the "Violins of Hope" project together with violinmaker Amnon Weinstein. Twenty-four violins once owned by players who lost their lives in ghettos and concentration camps during World War II were restored by Weinstein and have been used on several occasions. Eighteen of them were exhibited in 2010 for the first time at a world premiere in Sion (Valais), along with pictures of Lucille Reyboz and videos by Blue Press Agency. The Violins of Hope participated in several events throughout the world (Paris, Maastricht, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Cleveland and Charlotte (USA)), and were first heard again during a concert in Jerusalem for the sixtieth anniversary celebration of the State of Israel in 2008.
- Premio Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena
- Diapason d’Or
- Grand Prix du Disque (thrice)
- Gramophone Award
- Edison Award (twice)
In May 2006, Mintz received an honorary doctorate from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva, Israel.
Mintz maintains an active recording schedule as both soloist and conductor, for Deutsche Grammophon, Erato, RCA Victor, Avie Records and Challenge Records. Most of his recordings with Deutsche Grammophon were re-released, such as his first recording (of the Bruch G minor and Mendelssohn E minor concertos), which was re-released in DG’s ‘Grand Prix’ Series (“The world’s finest recordings”), in April 2007.
- J.S. Bach: Bach Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001 – 1006, Deutsche Grammophon
- Bartok: 2 Portraits, Deutsche Grammophon
- Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 1, RN
- Beethoven: Violin Concerto and the two Romances, Deutsche Grammophon
- Brahms: Complete Violin & Viola Sonatas, Avie Records and Magnatune
- Brahms: Violin Concerto, Deutsche Grammophon
- Bruch: Violin Concerto in G minor, Deutsche Grammophon (first recording, together with Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor)
- Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor, Ravel: Violin Sonata, Franck: Violin Sonata in A, Deutsche Grammophon
- Dvořák: Violin Concerto, Deutsche Grammophon
- Fauré: The two Violin Sonatas, Op. 13 in A & Op. 108 in E minor, Deutsche Grammophon
- Israel Philharmonic: 60th Anniversary Gala Concert, RCA Victor
- Kreisler: Selected violin works, Deutsche Grammophon
- Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole, Vieuxtemps: Concerto No. 5 and Saint-Saëns: ‘Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso’, Deutsche Grammophon
- Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Deutsche Grammophon (first recording, together with Bruch: Violin Concerto in G minor)
- Mendelssohn: The two Violin Sonatas, Deutsche Grammophon
- Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat for Violin and Viola, K. 364, RCA Victor
- Mozart: The five Violin Concertos, Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat and Concertone, Avie Records (also on Magnatune)
- Paganini: The 24 Caprices for violin solo, Op. 1, Deutsche Grammophon
- Prokofiev: The Violin Concertos, in D major and G minor, Opp. 19 & 63, Deutsche Grammophon
- Prokofiev: The two Violin Sonatas, in F minor and D major, Opp. 80 & 94a, Deutsche Grammophon
- Shostakovich: Violin Sonata Op.134 & Viola Sonata Op. 147, Erato
- Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Deutsche Grammophon
- Stravinsky ‘Histoire du Soldat’, Valois
- Vivaldi: ‘The Four Seasons’ (Il Cimento dell' Armonia e Invenzione: Violin Concertos 1-4), Deutsche Grammophon
- Vivaldi: Complete Violin Concertos (in 10 vols.), MusicMasters Classics.*
- Jaques Cattell Press (Ed.): Who's who in American Music. Classical. First edition. R. R. Bowker, New York 1983.
- Boris Schwarz: Great Masters of the Violin. From Corelli and Vivaldi to Stern, Zukerman and Perlman. Simon and Schuster, New York 1983.
- Darryl Lyman: Great Jews in Music. J. D. Publishers, Middle Village, NY 1986.
- Kurtz Myers: Index to record reviews 1984-1987. G.K. Hall, Boston, Ma. 1989.