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Critical Acclaim

With Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“Shaham’s pure, highly focused tone consistently underlined the lyrical element, treating the opening pages of the central theme and variations as a hushed reverie. Yet he also put across the bravura sections with bristling intensity, and the chromatic astringency was also manifest in Mälkki’s robust, punchy accompaniment. The contrasting sections of the finale always seem to come around one time too many but Shaham and Mälkki made the strongest case for this music, ratcheting up the tension to a blazing coda.”

- Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review, April 1, 2016

With Boston Symphony Orchestra

“Violinist Gil Shaham’s playing was spectacular, offering a spectrum of emotions and timbres that gave complete commitment to the performance. When not playing, his expressions of rapture while listening to some of the swirling orchestral passages were transporting in themselves”

-Liane Curtis, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, March 19, 2016

With the Knights

“Shaham gave a rich, detailed and masterful performance, his brilliant, slightly edgy, tone projecting clearly over the orchestra.”

-Colin Eatock, Eatock Daily, February 19, 2016

With the Knights

“Violinist and Champaign native Gil Shaham joined the ensemble for a lean, bracing, and playful account of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Shaham and Jacobson shared a common vision and an easy rapport, though the grins and mugging were occasionally distracting. Given the size of the ensemble, it was surprising to hear occasional balance concerns, most notably in the first movement. Shaham was most impressive in the second movement, coaxing a stream of lyrical outpouring from his 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius.”

- Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review, February 19, 2016

 

Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

“It’s hardly news that Shaham is an impeccable violinist, one capable of bringing out the mechanics and the majesty of Bach in equal measure. Still, it was great to be startled all over again by the brilliance of his playing, the penetrating power of his interpretations…Shaham produced a clear and beautifully focused tone, even in the busiest passages. Intonation, despite the hothouse environment, held firm. Above all, he offered remarkable subtleties of expression.”
- Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun, February 24, 2014

“Shaham’s Bach, a jaunty, excitable rendition of the E Major Partita, captured the vigor and raffish charm of his best work.”
- Joshua Kosman, SF Gate, February 17, 2013

With the London Symphony Orchestra

“Either way, this was a performance of engaged eloquence and powerful expressivity that explored the darkness within the score and its hints of both insecurity and aggression. Shaham was technically impeccable, also drawing on an ample range of colour and articulation to encompass the music’s needs while being consistently vividly supported by Vänskä and the LSO players.”
- George Hall, The Guardian, April 14, 2015

With the Vienna Philharmonic

“A ravishing account with Gil Shaham of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s sumptuous Violin Concerto prompted a playful encore, Kreisler’s “Schön Rosmarin,” played by Mr. Shaham and the orchestra.”
- Steve Smith, New York Times, March 17, 2014

With the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

“Then the violinist Gil Shaham was the soloist for a rapturous, powerful performance of Berg’s great Violin Concerto, written in 1935 and dedicated to ‘the memory of an angel.’… Mr. Shaham played the technically daunting violin part of this two-movement concerto with command, clarity and melting sound. He and the inspired orchestra brought richness and majesty even to the wrenching, torturous first half of the second movement. The performance conveyed the state of uneasy peace and solemn resignation that arrives when Berg folds a harmonically daring, strangely consoling Bach chorale into the long, final episode of the piece.”
- Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, May 19, 2014

With the New World Symphony

“Shaham always managee to infuse the most oft-played works with new life and his reading of the Tchaikovsky was no exception. With exceptionally strong teamwork with guest conductor Cristian Macelaru the result was a freshly conceived and exciting performance.”

“He brought out the yearning and aching sadness of the Canzonetta, with soft playing that approached a whisper. Shaham was not afraid to bend or stretch a phrase, yet his interpretive choices were always musically astute and never exaggerated. He brought a touch of gypsy paprika to the finale, breezing through the twists and turns with abandon.”

- Lawerence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review, January 10, 2016

Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

“Grammy award-winner and Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” violin virtuoso, Gil Shaham, gave a brilliant, if not impeccable, performance of two Sonatas and two Partitas Dec. 1 at the Lensic Theater.”

“Here more exhilarating playing as Shaham’s  bow arm reminded me of a windmill as he superbly managed the incessant bariolage of rapid sixtheenth notes in the opening Preludio. This was followed by a stately, elegant interpretation of the Gavotte en Rondeau, the Menuets and Bourée which concluded with a spirited Gigue.”

 

- Mary Helen Klare, LA Daily Post, December 13, 2015 

Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

“Shaham’s approach, smooth and often whisperingly quiet, yet dramatic and spontaneous when required, suited the instrument beautifully. He played a great deal with dynamic shadings, which of course would be his own as there are no dynamic markings in Bach’s original scores.”

-D.S. Crafts, Albuquerque Journal, December 6, 2015

With Aspen Chamber Symphony Orchestra

“The violinist’s usual grace, tonal precision and deft phrasing synchronized perfectly with Kahane’s brisk pace. The unanimity of purpose allowed for delicate moments that breathed between phrases without losing momentum. This is what chamber music is all about, but you don’t always hear it happen with a full orchestra.”

- Harvey Steiman, Aspen Times, July 27, 2015 

With Sydney Symphony Orchestra

“ Any one who heard Gil Shaham play the opening melody of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto would be likely to find unforgettable the sound’s distinctive buttery smoothness and golden hues, along with Shaham’s ability to shape phrases with smiling warmth.”

- Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, June 29, 2015

With Dallas Symphony Orchestra

“And Shaham is delightful to watch. He radiates joy when he plays—his glowing expression seems to project the idea that in this moment, playing violin really, really well is the Best Thing Ever”

- J Robin Coffelt, TheaterJones, March 22, 2015

BACH SONATAS AND PARTITAS FOR SOLO VIOLIN

“ But if there ever was someone to take on Bach’s masterworks, it is the indefatigable Shaham.”

 – Hannah Edgar, Chicago Maroon, March 3, 2015

With the Cleveland Orchestra

“The centerpiece of the Blossom concert was an appearance by violinist Gil Shaham, who played Beethoven’s magisterial concerto.

Shaham brought to the Blossom stage not only his supreme artistry, but also a style of playing that stretches back, through Itzhak Perlman, Jascha Heifetz and Nathan Milstein, to the great Hungarian virtuoso and pedagogue Leopold Auer. Artistic and technical mastery, expressed with a tone that can only be described as silk and steel, is the hallmark of Shaham’s playing, and it was in ample supply Saturday night.”
- Mark Satola, Cleveland.com, July 30, 2012

With the Cleveland Orchestra

“Mr. Shaham was at home in this music, grooving on the sounds made by the first violins when he wasn’t playing, and spinning sweet melodies over the rich orchestral texture. The violinist brought athleticism and musicianship to the vast musical arches of the opening movement.”
- Paul Pelkonen, Superconductor, May 24, 2012

“Gil Shaham was certainly, like Bronfman, in the rarefied aeries of serious music. Yet might have expected a value-conscious New Yorker to complain that Bronfman used 88 strings, while Shaham was performing on a measly four (or eight, if you count double-stopping). But once they heard those heavenly tones emitted from Mr. Shaham’s 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius, all doubts would have faded into the Carnegie Hall spaces.”
- Harry Rolnick, Concertonet.com, May 23, 2012

“Shaham plunged in with thrilling confidence and uncommon clarity in terms of accuracy, tone and character. With a burnished, concentrated timbre, he conveyed almost shy sweetness; fierce determination and grit in brutal confrontation with the orchestra; and a plaintive whisper.”
- Ronni Reich, NJ.com, April 30, 2012

“Is there a more sunny and less ego-driven violinist than Israeli-born Gil Shaham? He makes even the most virtuosic music seem so effortless and natural, it’s easy to forget how rare and difficult an achievement that is.”
- Raphael Mostel, The Jewish Daily Forward, April 16, 2012

“Shaham is an engaging and wonderfully skillful performer. A hint of shyness or reticence added to the allure of his onstage persona (though no player of his level is a wallflower). At the end, I realized I had encountered a goose-bump experience — an event to remember.”
- Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle, February 4, 2012

With the New World Symphony

“Shaham easily met the concerto’s virtuosic demands in a performance that banished literal routine in favor of interpretive risk. With a tone full and darkly beautiful, Shaham played the concerto’s haunting opening melody at an unusually deliberate tempo. In the more animated material that followed, he took off at flying speed, the contrasts sharp and strongly pointed. The second movement Andante is the concerto’s heart, a graceful violin melody soaring over light winds and plucked orchestral strings. Shaham’s light touch and flowing pulse captured the magic of one of Prokofiev’s most inspired creations and he brought plenty of sinew and fire to the more aggressive central episode.

Prokofiev’s sense of ironic sarcasm propels the perpetual motion finale and Shaham allowed his sound to turn appropriately harsh, sailing through the darting off-kilter rhythms and pyrotechnical flights in the violin’s highest register with panache.”
- Lawrence Budman, South Florida Classical Review, February 18, 2012

With the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

“Shaham played with infectious delight and complete ease. His performance was built of expressive phrasing, complete technical command and an enormous palette of colors, as well as a constant ear for the interplay between solo and orchestral lines.”
- Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 2, 2012

“His happiness was our happiness. Shaham had it all going: Perfect pitch laced with expressive vibrato, full and infinitely varied tone, blazing speed with no hint of haste or strain, generous phrasing with lots of room to breathe, neat rhythmic proportions inflected with expressive rubato, the most delicate and miraculously present of high pianissimos. The dazzling technique and command served the higher purpose of spreading joy. We could vicariously share his delight in the doing as he released the joy locked in the ink Brahms applied to music paper in 1878.”
- Tom Strini, Third Coast Digest, February 2, 2012

“From the first moment of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, Shaham made connections with everyone in the room. He played to the audience, but he turned to look at the musicians with whom he had to coordinate his line. He even moved around to be closer to those he needed to work with. Shaham attacked the perpetual motion finale as if in a competition to play the most notes in the movement’s time of just under four minutes. But he also made sense of it all, giving those hundreds of notes clear direction. It was a very impressive combination of intelligence, skill and fearless risk-taking.”
- Lee Temply, Hampton Roads.com, January 22, 2012

With the San Francisco Symphony

“And Gil Shaham was a magnificent soloist in the concerto, bringing vigor and clarity to the outer movements and a certain clipped lyricism to the paired instrumental arias that serve as a double centerpiece.”
- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, June 21, 2013

“Shaham managed to display the gamut of emotion in the piece, all the while playing with unparalleled exuberance and astonishing skill. At a respite between solos, he even lowered his ear to his violin, as if listening to its feelings before giving them voice. A truly special performer, Shaham is more compelling than a firework show — if faced with the choice, one would prefer to watch him. Boundlessly expressive, he is capable of showering the audience with rain before parting the clouds to reveal a glorious sun. Shaham coaxes his violin not merely into playing sequences of notes, but into telling entire narratives, crying out in pain or singing with delight.”
- Eytan Schindelhaim, The Daily California, November 27, 2011

With the NY Philharmonic and John Williams

“Violinist Gil Shaham joined the Philharmonic to play three pieces from Schindler’s List, which picked up a host of Academy Awards in 1993, including Best Picture and Best Original Score, with the achingly sad main theme performed by the great Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman. Shaham did total justice to the theme and produced a liquid sound that was soft and restrained yet full of power, his bow gliding tenderly over the strings. He also played the tango from the 1992 film Scent of a Woman, nursing his violin as if it were his dancing partner and making the melody sing oh-so-sweetly, as well as excerpts from Fiddler on the Roof (1964).”
- Lucy Butcher, California Literary Review, November 5, 2011

“Violinist Gil Shaham’s solo performance of the Bach Partita No. 2, and particularly its concluding Chaconne, may have brought his audience to its feet roaring with pleasure at Strathmore Music Center on Sunday, but it was the subtlety of the rest of the program that spoke most eloquently.
- Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post, October 31, 2011

With the NY Philharmonic and John Williams

“For much of the second act, [John] Williams was joined up front by talented violinist Gil Shaham. While the rest of the orchestra sat nearby, Shaham danced with his instrument during the tango as if it was his partner, crouched down during more mellow moments, and gave some sort of expression to practically note he played. Shaham never uttered a word during his half hour on stage. On this night, Hollywood’s greatest music spoke for itself.”
- Danny Groner, Huffington Post, October 26, 2011

With the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra:

“The ensemble was joined by the gregarious violinist Gil Shaham for Brahms’s Violin Concerto in D, which concluded the program. This pinnacle of the Romantic repertory is bread and butter for full-size symphony orchestras but more provocative fare for a conductorless chamber ensemble. While Orpheus couldn’t produce the richness of sound or dramatic scope of a larger group, it did perform with energetic flair and textural clarity, offering a committed performance marred by only a few tentative moments between ensemble and soloist. Mr. Shaham seemed to be enjoying himself, frequently flashing a wide-eyed grin to the orchestra and audience. He played with his customary depth and charisma, particularly impressive in the first-movement cadenza.”
- Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, October 17, 2011

“Shaham’s wild flights of virtuoso fancy, especially in the spellbinding first movement cadenza, never came at the price of structural integrity. He communed with the entire orchestra throughout the work, performing almost selflessly — if that is possible in such a spotlighted role — and treated the sold-out audience to a third movement coda of exquisite delicacy and a perfectly-judged final decrescendo”
- Steven Siegel, Lehigh Valley Music, October 13, 2011

“Shaham gave a riveting performance of the piece Friday evening, mixing a buttery sound with genuine, heart-on-the-sleeve music making and a clearly evident delight with the music and the performance itself.

The violinist was exceptionally free in his stance, his positioning on the stage, and in his shaping and coloring of the piece’s musically rich phrases.

There are a number of fine violinists on the world’s stages who could have played the notes and other technical details of the Walton as impeccably as Shaham did, but very few who could have brought his compelling, unselfconscious mix of expression and joy to the stage.”
- Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 12, 2011

“The Israeli-American violinist is always a pleasure to listen to, and also, thanks to his charming stage manner, to watch. Strongly supported by Gerard Schwarz’s orchestra, he dispatched Bartók’s often taxing passage work with aplomb — the intonation immaculate, the tone mellow, the bowing incisive — and responded with much warmth to the work’s lyrical moments.
- Bernard Jacobson, Seattle Times, January 7. 2011

“The Mozart, with Gil Shaham as the soloist, deserved the enthusiasm. Mr. Shaham’s playing was both sweet-toned and trim, every phrase crisply articulated and, in the first two movements, thoughtfully shaped. In the finale, which includes the Turkish dance rhythms and modal figures that earned the work its nickname, the demand is for zest rather than thoughtfulness, and Mr. Shaham gave it all the vigor it wants with no sacrifice in clarity or shape. His choice of cadenzas — he played Joseph Joachim’s — suited the subtle virtuosity of his approach to the work as a whole.

“For listeners inclined toward virtuosity of a less subtle kind, Mr. Shaham played an encore that he announced only as “a Turkish dance, not by Mozart.” The piece, a sizzler loaded with decorative display — slides, whistling harmonics, bent notes and jazzy variations — turned out to be Mr. Shaham’s own arrangement (complete with a rudimentary orchestral accompaniment) of “Nihavent Longa,” a piece he heard on a recent visit to Istanbul. Now that he runs his own record label, Canary Classics, he must find a place for this on a disc, sooner rather than later. ”
- Allan Kozinn, New York Times, August 4, 2010

“Violinist Gil Shaham has played Barber’s Violin Concerto for decades, and his mastery of the score made for a transcendent performance Saturday night. Technical perfection on an Olympian scale met with fervent emotional commitment in Shaham’s unsurpassed reading.

“Underscoring it all was Shaham’s generosity of spirit, as he chose to stand not at the edge of the stage, in patrician isolation, but rather in front of the first and second violins, communicating with them as a leader among equals — and quite evidently reveling as much as the audience in Barber’s brilliant and soulful score.”
- Mark Satola, Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 26, 2010

“In earthy energy, Shaham’s more than equals that of Issac Stern’s early recording and exceeds Christian Tetzlaff’s…Shaham’s bright, jubilant manner and the ensemble’s buoyancy rectify any want of brilliance in the writing…The opening of this hybrid sounds in Shaham’ sperformance almost like a violin concerto, although the impression doesn’t last long; still, Shaham’s mastery shiens through while it does.”
- Robert Maxham, Fanfare, July/August 2010

“This is highly doubtful, from Gil Shaham, 39, who recently recorded an entire album of violin works by the virtuoso composer Pablo de Sarasate, who has won multiple Grammys, won an Avery Fisher Grant and Avery Fisher Award, and plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius. The man has serious chops… The Haydn concertos struck me as being more virtuosic than I expected.”
- Laurie Niles, Violinist.com, June 2, 2010

“Gil Shaham and the Sejong Soloists – a handpicked ensemble of young musicians – present a driving performance, bustling and forward moving in the opening Allego…Shaham is spotlit within the balance, most notably in the first movement…Shaham’s rich violin tone is boon in these works, especially in the central slow movements, making this a viable modern-instrumental alternative…”
- David Threasher. Gramophone Magazine, June 1, 2010

“It is hard not to fall in love with Gil Shaham’s violin playing. Whether he is giving recitals together with his sister, the pianist Orli Shaham, recording for his own CD label or exploring the violin concerto masterpieces from the 1930s – which form his chief project this season – generosity and warmth emanate from his tone.”
- Jessica Duchen, Jewish Chronicle, May 6, 2010

“In the midst of an abundance of virtuoso passages, all of which could not have been better served in Shaham’s execution, Robertson recognized that there were smaller things with major impact on the listening experience;  and his working relationship with Shaham was such that we on the audience side could appreciate those small things, perhaps hearing some of them for the first time.  This first became evident early in the first movement, when Shaham dropped the dynamic to pianissimo sustained by a sense of inner tension.  Dramatically, it seemed as if the tension concerned the relation with the rest of the orchestra, wrestling with the choice of standing apart or blending into the whole. “
- Steven Smoliar, San Francisco Examiner, April 18, 2010

“Shaham has emerged as a beacon not just of soloistic musicianship but of collaborative spirit”
- Andrew Clark, Financial Times, April 17, 2010

“The performance was a knockout…The ensemble was terrific. Rhythms were dynamic and centered…But what was really different was the fascinating, outrageous degree of character Shaham and Robertson gave every little Stravinskyan turn of phrase.”
- Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2010


“After the intermission, Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D major got an inspired performance from all concerned, with Shaham and Robertson completely in sync and the orchestra right there with them. It continued a pattern of standing ovations and wild cheers from these audiences.”
- Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Today, April 20, 2010

“On this disc he is a kind of Pied Piper, leading the Sejong Soloists, a gifted young American-based ensemble, through Mendelssohn’s irresistible Octet and a pair of Haydn violin concertos. The Mendelssohn is the biggest delight, because its manic personality matches Shaham’s. It is graceful of Shaham to play such a collaborative piece. You cannot always sense his voice, but you sense his leadership.”
- Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News, March 21, 2010

“The beauty — and power — of his music were brilliantly displayed last night by Shaham and the Philharmonic, under the direction of David Robertson. Shaham’s passion for the music was evident in the extraordinary range of sounds he drew from the violin, especially the hushed soft passages. He was equally impressive when the music soared. Robertson and the orchestra partnered him with breathtaking precision.”
– Howard Kissel, Daily News, February 28, 2010

“Gil Shaham joined Mr. Robertson and company for a rich-toned, gracefully shaped performance of Barber’s Violin Concerto, a bittersweet, melodically opulent work with just enough vinegar in its pages to keep it from growing cloying.”
- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, February 27, 2010

“The superb violinist Gil Shaham performs seven of these works in “Concertos of the 1930s,” a project with major American and European orchestras that continues over the next year or so. Last month, he played an impressive double-header of Barber and Prokofiev with the Kansas City Symphony under its music director, Michael Stern…. That cadenza was one of many memorable moments in the violinist’s moving performance of the Barber in Kansas City. His tone glowed, and he communicated the concerto’s shifting emotions with the authenticity of a Method actor.”

“And even the tender longing of the first movement builds to a soaring cadenza that he likens to “a primal scream.”… That cadenza was one of many memorable moments in the violinist’s moving performance of the Barber…”
- Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2010

“Though Israel just won its first Olympic Gold in 2004, it has long been able to boast about its quicksilver violinist Gil Shaham. As dexterous as an archer and agile like a gymnast, Shaham comes to Lincoln Center to perform Barber’s Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic.”
- Olivia Giovetti, Time Out New York, February 11, 2010

“Time stood still Saturday night at the Lyric Theatre when violinist Gil Shaham performed with the Kansas City Symphony. As Shaham drew his bow across the strings to begin the melancholy opening theme of Samuel Barber’s “Violin Concerto,” he produced one of the most opulent string sounds I’ve ever heard in that space. The opening movement alternated lyrical sections with nearly insurmountable virtuosic passages; indeed, he didn’t quite nail them all. The audience was spellbound, however, by sheer artistry encompassing the poles of romantic expression — from gossamer-thin tone to vibrant, passionate outbursts. When the opening theme returned, it was poetry in sound. Never-ending technical flourishes characterized the finale. Shaham rose to the challenge, employing dynamic contrast and innate musicality.”
- Timothy McDonald, Kansas City Star, January 24, 2010

“Violinist Gil Shaham bolted onto the stage with a type of beatific determination that instantly endeared him to his audience. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto represents the apogee of the composer’s virtuosic writing for the violin, and Shaham brilliantly whipped off blazing arpeggios, soaring high notes and volleys of trills with the same apparent nonchalance with which he had knotted his tie. In the third movement, so reminiscent of the composer’s elfin incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream , his bow shot around like an arrow of featherweight precision. So contagious was Shaham’s enthusiasm that the orchestra at times seemed to have sympathetically embraced his crisp, vigorous and alert articulation, thus overriding the somewhat lacklustre musical information provided by Zukerman from the conductor’s podium.”
- Christopher Moore, Globe and Mail, September 29, 2010

“The next time you’re planning a festival of Schubert and Berg, take a page from the playbook of Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Get Gil Shaham to play the Berg Violin Concerto… Shaham, whose playing was limpid and tonally resplendent throughout, rolled through the waltz music of the second section with the casual grace of a strolling cafe violinist…”
– Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2009

“Shaham’s most poetic work takes place in the concerto’s two arias. On top of light, chugging figures in the cellos and basses, Shaham drops out tender-soft notes like cotton balls on a bed of feathers.”
- Zachary Lewis, Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 20, 2009

“[Shaham’s] glee and virtuosity were such that at one point, people burst into spontaneous applause and by the end people were laughing unashamedly.  Strangers were smiling at each other.  That is what this guy does.”
–Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News October 4, 2009

“The work that really turned this concert around was the violin concerto by Stravinsky. This was a dream of a performance, luminous and dancing, light as air. Incurious hands in the past have made this concerto appear busy but dour, but it has had a remarkable renaissance recently. Even so, Shaham’s interpretation was exceptionally spirited and fresh, always at one with the incisive accompaniment from Robertson’s orchestra.”
-Geoff Brown, The Times (UK), December 10 2008

“Shaham gave a terrific account of Stravinsky’s concerto, full of lithe yet muscular playing, chiseled articulation, and coiled energy. This spare, sparkling music is full of sly glances and ironic nods to centuries past, and Shaham rendered them with all due virtuosity, but he also did not shy away from singing through Aria II with an open, warmly expressive tone.”
- Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe, October 3, 2008

“This listener was grateful that Mr. Shaham seems to have skipped music history class on the day they taught that the great Romantic violin tradition ended with the Sibelius concerto. In other words, he plays the Berg (written in 1935) with unbridled passion, as if its jagged 12-tone idiom was not a rupture with music’s heroic 19th-century language but an updating. The solo line’s dissonant leaps were often bridged with warm portamenti, and even at its most austere the music never lost its singing quality.”
- Jeremy Eichler, New York Times, March 24, 2004

With the Boston Symphony/Andre Previn

“After the Previn premiere, Shaham gave a terrific account of Stravinsky’s concerto, full of lithe yet muscular playing, chiseled articulation, and coiled energy. This spare, sparkling music is full of sly glances and ironic nods to centuries past, and Shaham rendered them with all due virtuosity, but he also did not shy away from singing through Aria II with an open, warmly expressive tone.”
– Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe, October 3, 2008

With the Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Peter Oundjian

Violin soloist carries day for DSO
“Shaham’s playing [in the Brahms concerto] was all about honeyed sound, lyrical melody and the Russian-romantic soul. In the expansive opening movement, he played liquid legato phrases, dappled with portamento slides that were as irresistible as they were schmaltzy. Oundjian and the DSO were full participants, matching Shaham’s emoting without sacrificing proportion or elegance. The slow movement was a sigh of beauty from Shaham and the DSO winds. In the rondo finale, Shaham romped playfully through the melodic twirls, his broad gestures projecting to the rafters.”
– Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press, September 13, 2008

“More assured and rewarding was the collective effort in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, which drew elegant, concentrated playing from soloist Gil Shaham. This was not heated, rhapsodic Brahms but songful and expansive, especially in Saham’s caressing treatment of the slow movement.”
– Lawrence B. Johnson, Detroit News, September 12, 2008

With the San Francisco Symphony/ Michael Tilson Thomas, in Carnegie Hall

“Violinist Gil Shaham was featured in Tuesday’s concert; he held the first half with an absolutely electrifying performance of William Schuman’s Violin Concerto. Schuman (1910-1992), a lifelong New Yorker, was the first composer to win the Pulitzer Prize. With furious energy and an unflappable sense of delight, Shaham demonstrated why Schuman’s Concerto, premiered by Isaac Stern at Carnegie in 1950, is American modernism at its finest. The violinist took command immediately with a raw, blazing introduction, establishing space not only musically but also physically, hopping from side to side in rhythm with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas’ standard choreography. Shaham is striking for the engaging manner in which he plays, his genuine smile such a welcome contrast to the scowls, furrowed brows and emotive gapes that pass for artistry among soloists. Shaham’s fiery, no-nonsense playing and charisma spread throughout the orchestra, which fed on the flames. In his cadenzas, Shaham was nearly a concerto unto himself, with double-stopping that sounded like separate lines of music.”
– Ben Finane, San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 2008 


With San Francisco Symphony/ Michael Tilson Thomas, in Davies Symphony Hall

“At his best Shaham plays with a combination of rigor and ingratiating gentleness…Shaham’s performance [of William Schuman’s Violin Concerto] captured the music’s air of gleeful heedlessness. His string tone becomes warmer and more inviting year by year…”
– Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, March 7, 2008 


With the New York Philharmonic

“The violinist Gil Shaham played the solo line with a warm, focused but never overly pretty tone, and perfectly characterized the work’s anguished and occasionally angry (in the assertive movement, particularly) spirit.”
– Allan Kozinn, New York Times, March 16, 2012

The virtuosic violinist

“More articles about Gil Shaham.” Gil Shaham was in inspired form, playing [Dvorak’s Violin Concerto] with lustrous tone, brilliant technique and sweeping energy. During orchestral passages when he was not playing, he kept looking at Mr. Dudamel. Smiling broadly, Mr. Shaham almost cracked up with delight a couple of times as he watched his energized conductor.”
– Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, December 1, 2007

With the Los Angeles Philharmonic / Leonard Slatkin (opening night of the Hollywood Bowl):

“We were lucky: Gil Shaham was the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. His was old-school, big-personality, enormously engaging Tchaikovsky playing, sort of Isaac Stern with ants in his pants.… he plays with a sense of wonder… Shaham’s oneness with the music won us all over, and after the big first-movement cadenza, the audience burst into applause. I’ve never heard that happen before, and I wonder whether Shaham had either.”
– Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2007


Chamber Music

For Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, in the Rose Theater:
“The violinist Gil Shaham has been a constant presence in New York over the last two seasons, appearing as a chamber musician and as an orchestral soloist. Given his formidable technique as well as a big, singing tone and a sunny disposition, he is hardly in danger of wearing out his welcome.
– Steve Smith, New York Times, April 4, 2008