"He plunged into the music as if into a refreshing pool--head first, playfully and with great energy....
Israelievitch was impressive, sharing from his soul his understated interpretation of the music."
— Canadian Jewish News
 
 

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    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Ballet, Op. 20 (Act 3, Danse Russe)       Listen now

America's Concertmasters
This unique book, based on extensive research on more than 180 concertmasters and dozens of interviews, looks at the training and personality traits that have yielded great leaders in the major orchestras of the United States and Canada.  Included are in-depth profiles of twenty-two of North America's top concertmasters, including Jacques Israelievitch.

Purchase now from Amazon


Kreutzer's complete studies
Performed by Jacques Israelieivitch, and recorded for
the first time in its entirety,
Kreutzer's amazing collection
of etudes is the foundation of
every violinist's technique.

Purchase now from Stringology.com


 

click here for a condensed bio (300 words or less)

Internationally renowned violinist Jacques Israelievitch enjoyed a fulfilling, exciting and varied career as concertmaster, soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and conductor.  As one of North America's most distinguished performing artists, he appeared regularly throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Born in France, Mr. Israelievitch made his solo debut on French National Radio at the age of eleven, graduated from the Paris Conservatory with three first prizes at sixteen and was subsequently a prizewinner at the International Paganini Competition.  Mr. Israelievitch studied under such acclaimed teachers as Henryk Szeryng, Janos Starker, William Primrose and ultimately, Josef Gingold, with whom he later served as Teaching Assistant at Indiana University.

Appearing frequently with orchestras from around the world, Mr. Israelievitch’s career included collaborations with Sir Georg Solti, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Slatkin, Raymond Leppard, Sir Andrew Davis, Günther Herbig, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Thomas Dausgaard, and Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, among many others, and solo appearances with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, CBC Radio Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Lithuania, and the China National Symphony Orchestra.

At age 23, Sir Georg Solti appointed Jacques Israelievitch to be Assistant Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, making him the youngest musician in the orchestra.  In 1978, after six seasons in Chicago, he became Concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony, a position he held for ten years.

From 1988 to 2008, Mr. Israelievitch served as Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)—the longest tenure for a leader in the ensemble’s history.  His time with the TSO was highlighted by annual appearances as both soloist and conductor.

A lifelong advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Israelievitch premiered and recorded many new pieces such as R. Murray Schafer’s The Darkly Splendid Earth: The Lonely Traveler, commissioned for him by the TSO and recorded for CBC Records.  In 2004, he performed Jeffrey Ryan’s violin concerto, The Chalice of Becoming, with Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony.  This work was also commissioned for Jacques and premiered by the TSO.

Mr. Israelievitch was an accomplished chamber musician, performing with such distinguished artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman and Yo-Yo Ma.  He was violinist of the New Arts Trio, the Israelievitch-Smith-Ahn Trio, and frequently performed with pianist Christina Petrowska-Quilico.

From 2008 to 2015, Mr. Israelievitch was a full-time professor on the fine arts faculty at York University in Toronto while continuing to teach at the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music.  Guest master classes brought him to the New World Symphony, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Michigan, McGill University, Central Conservatory in Beijing, and the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, among others.  For sixteen summers, Mr. Israelievitch was on the violin faculty at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, teaching an international class of violinists, coaching chamber music groups, and serving as chair of the string department.

As an accomplished conductor, Mr. Israelievitch led the Saint Louis Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Windsor Symphony, Orchestre du Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris, and other ensembles in North America, France, and Japan.  From 2005-2014, he served as Music Director and Conductor of the Koffler Chamber Orchestra, the ensemble-in-residence at the Koffler Centre of the Arts.

Mr. Israelievitch’s discography includes the Juno Award nominated Suite Hebraique, Bruch's Second Concerto with the Chamber Orchestra of Lithuania, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the CBC Radio Orchestra, Beethoven’s Romances with the TSO, and the albums Suite Française, Suite Enfantine, Suite Fantaisie, Solo Suite, and Hammer and Bow with his son, percussionist Michael Israelievitch. He is the featured violin soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Ballet with Leonard Slatkin for RCA Red Seal and can be heard on additional recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Decca, Sony/BMG, Telarc, Finlandia, Analekta, and CBC Records.

In 2006, Mr. Israelievitch released the first-ever complete recording of Kreutzer’s 42 studies for solo violin – a project that has garnered worldwide recognition.  Recent releases include an all-French album with the Mirage Quintet (Naxos Records), two recordings by the New Arts Trio (Fleur de Son Classics), French Violin Sonatas with pianist Kanae Matsumoto (Fleur de Son Classics), and the Centrediscs release, Fancies and Interludes with pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. 

In 2015, Jacques Israelievitch was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.  In 1995, he was inducted by the French government into the Order of Arts and Letters and in 2004 was promoted to the status of Officer.  Mr. Israelievitch is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by the Toronto Musicians’ Association in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the performing arts in Canada.  In 1995, on behalf of the Institute for International Affairs, B’nai Brith recognized him with a human rights award in recognition of his outstanding moral leadership.

Jacques Israelievitch passed away September 5, 2015.  Despite a cancer diagnosis six months earlier, Mr. Israelievitch was determined to complete one final project.  The result is a multi-disc set of the complete Mozart Sonatas and Variations with pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico.  The first volume is scheduled for release by Naxos in Spring 2016.

 

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