Pinchas Zukerman

Music Director, National Arts Centre Orchestra

Pinchas Zukerman has been a musical phenomenon for four decades.  His genius, prodigious technique and exceptional artistic standards are a marvel to critics and audiences.  His devotion to younger generations of musicians inspired by his magnetism has been applauded worldwide.  Equally respected as a violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue and chamber musician, Pinchas Zukerman is a master of our time.

Pinchas Zukerman was named Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1998, and he continues to guest conduct and perform with the world’s finest orchestras. He turned 60 on July 16, 2008 and celebrates with a 2008-09 season comprising well over 100 concert engagements and travel to 17 countries including France, India, Israel, China, Turkey, Peru, New Zealand, Austria, Russia and the United Arab Emerates.  He performs orchestra, solo recital and chamber music repertoire in 34 cities. He appears with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he is Principal Guest Conductor, in Moscow, Italy and Spain; the Dallas Symphony Orchestra on tour in the US; the Israel Philharmonic in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Bombay and Israel; the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France and Gulbenkian Orchestra. Mr. Zukerman and pianist Marc Neikrug give recitals in Vienna, Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. 

Mr. Zukerman also leads the Zukerman ChamberPlayers founded in 2003 – a string ensemble of talented musicians mainly from the NAC Orchestra which has already performed more than 80 concerts at the most prestigious festivals in North America and Europe. It has recorded five CDs including a highly acclaimed release in 2008 of Schubert’s Trout Quintet with guest pianist Yefim Bronfman.

Pinchas Zukerman is the driving force behind the national role the NAC plays in education. He founded the NAC Summer Music Institute (SMI) in 1999 which now includes the Young Artists Programme, Conductors Programme and Composers Programme. Over ten years the SMI has provided training with an international faculty headed by Zukerman to 581 participants from 34 countries. In 2007, Pinchas Zukerman launched the Institute of Orchestral Studies, a season-long institute charged with developing highly talented musicians for orchestral careers. A pioneer of distance learning, he champions the NAC’s broadband videoconferencing programme known as Hexagon. He also continues his role as Director of the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music

Since the arrival of Pinchas Zukerman, the National Arts Centre Orchestra tours regularly both nationally and internationally. These tours now include a strong educational component. He led enormously successful Canadian tours in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, as well as critically acclaimed tours to the Middle East and Europe in 2000, and the United States and Mexico in 2003, all highlighted by unprecedented outreach activities and innovative internet activities on the NAC’s website at www.nac-cna.ca

Pinchas Zukerman’s discography contains over 100 titles, and has earned him 21 Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. He has made five recordings with the NAC Orchestra and been involved in a number of national radio and television broadcasts.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1948, Pinchas Zukerman studied music with Ilona Feher and, in 1962, came to America with the support of Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, and the America-Israel and Helena Rubenstein Foundations. He came to America in 1962 to study with Ivan Galamian on scholarship at The Juilliard School, and in 1967 was named first-prize winner of the 25th Leventritt Competition.

In 1983, President Reagan awarded Pinchas Zukerman a Medal of Arts for his leadership in the musical world. In October 2002, he became the first recipient of the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence at the National Arts Awards Gala in New York City, and in May 2006 was appointed as the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative’s first instrumentalist mentor in the music discipline.