Yuri Gandelsman is professor of viola at the Michigan State University College of Music.
He has been hailed by the Jerusalem Post as “…undoubtedly one of the greatest violists of our time.” He has been entertaining audiences around the world for the last 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician and a conductor.
Gandelsman was born in Russia and studied in Moscow with professors Heinrich Talalyan and Valentin Berlinsky. After winning the National Viola Competition in 1980 and joining the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra as principal violist and soloist, he became one of the USSR’s most sought-after musicians. His collaborations included concerts with renowned musicians including Sviatoslav Richter, Yevgeni Kissin, Vladimir Spivakov, the Borodin and the Shostakovitch quartets.
In 1990, Gandelsman became the principal violist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO). During the next 10 years he frequently performed as a soloist with the IPO under Maestro Zubin Mehta in Israel, the U.S., Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain. Gandelsman has performed solo recitals in many parts of the world, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Warsaw, Istanbul, Budapest, and Florence. He has made numerous solo recordings for “Melodya,” “Sony Classical,” “Lyrinx,” “ASV,” and “Naxos” labels.
Upon his arrival in Israel, Gandelsman was appointed as a professor of viola at the Rubin Academy at Tel Aviv University, a position he held for 12 years. From 2000-02 he was the chairman of the Chamber Music Department at the university.
Many of Gandelsman’s students hold positions in orchestras and chamber groups in Israel and Europe. His students have also been prizewinners at numerous international competitions. He has appeared as a guest professor at Yale University and the Paris Conservatoire. Gandelsman has given many master classes in Finland and during 1995 he was the director of the “Viola School” at the Kuhmo Festival. He has also taught and performed at several chamber music festivals in Europe, including the Pablo Casals, Verbier, Kuhmo, Portogruaro, and Savonlinna festivals.
Gandelsman’s chamber music collaborations include performances with well-known musicians such as Yefim Bronfman, Vadim Repin, Lynn Harell, Yuri Bashmet, Natalia Gutman, Gary Hoffman, Leonidas Kavakos, Midori, Gil Shaham and many others. He has been a jury member of International Competitions in Italy, France, and Israel. Gandelsman has also studied conducting with Professor Yuri Simonov and has conducted several orchestras in Russia, Finland, Italy, France, Israel, and Hungary.
In 2001 Gandelsman joined the Fine Arts Quartet, whose members are artists in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. With the quartet he performed more than 300 concerts worldwide and recorded numerous albums of chamber music by Dohnanyi, Glazunov, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Frank, Faure, and Schumann.
In He plays a 1748 Paolo Testore viola.