Gil Shaham’s Modesty Becomes Him – But He’s Still a Great Virtuoso

By Jeff Kaliss

March 16, 2018

To listen to him talking about his nearly four decades of professional violin performance across the globe and four centuries of repertoire, you’d think that Gil Shaham was counting lucky breaks, rather than laurels. His brief bio, in the San Francisco Symphony’s press release about his upcoming performances at Davies and California tour with the orchestra, positions Shaham’s “inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit” alongside his “flawless technique.” These qualities are as apparent as his modesty in his phone conversation with SFCV from his family home in New York City, which he shares with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.

Shaham himself was born 47 years ago in Urbana, Illinois to a pair of Israeli scientists who returned their family to their homeland when their son was 2 years old. After his childhood orchestral debut with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic and his triumph at competitions, Shaham became a scholarship student at Juilliard. He was still a high schooler when he was called to replace an ailing Itzhak Perlman under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas in London, and he went on to study at Columbia alongside his pianist younger sister, Orli. Winning a chamber-music Grammy with André Previn in 1999 on Deutsche Grammophon, Shaham went on to found his own record label, Canary Classics, in 2003. Though he’s regularly guested throughout the U.S., Europe, and Israel, Shaham and Anthony have both tailored their touring to provide for parenting. San Francisco, Shaham tells us, with an abiding trace of an Israeli accent, is something of a second home.

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