Biographies Festival 2024
28 July - 4 August

Boris Berman, piano

Boris Berman Photo Bob Handelman
Born in Moscow, Boris Berman studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Lev Oborin and graduated with distinction as both pianist and harpsichordist. He performed extensively throughout the former Soviet Union as a recitalist and appeared as guest soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Moscow Philharmonic and the Moscow Chamber orchestras. In 1973 he left the Soviet Union to immigrate to Israel, quickly establishing himself as one of the most sought-after keyboard performers and a highly influential musical personality. Presently residing in the USA, he continues to perform internationally as a recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with the world’s most prestigious orchestras and conductors.

Mr. Berman’s acclaimed recordings on the Philips, Deutsche Gramophon and Melodia labels have been complemented with 2 CDs of the complete piano sonatas of Scriabin for the Music and Arts label and a recital of Shostakovich piano works (Ottavo), which received the Edison Classic Award in Holland. The recording of three Prokofiev concertos with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Neeme Järvi (Chandos) marked the beginning of an ambitious project of recording the complete Prokofiev solo piano works. The first pianist ever to undertake this task, Mr. Berman has released it on nine Chandos CDs to great critical acclaim. His most recent discography shows the breadth of his repertoire: a disc ‘Debussy for Children’ (Ottavo); two releases of works for prepared piano by John Cage (Naxos – named Top Recording by the BBC Music Magazine); piano quintets of Shostakovich and Schnittke with the Vermeer Quartet (Naxos); and a recording of Scott Joplin’s Ragtimes (Ottavo).

A dedicated teacher of international stature, Boris Berman has served on the faculties of Indiana (Bloomington), Boston, Brandeis and Tel-Aviv universities. He currently heads the Piano Department at Yale School of Music. In 2000, the prestigious Yale University Press published his book ‘Notes from the Pianist’s Bench’, in which Berman draws on his vast experience as performer and teacher to explore issues of piano technique and music interpretation. Mr. Berman is a frequent jury member of international competitions such as Leeds, Dublin and the Artur Rubinstein Competition in Tel-Aviv. Mr. Berman regularly gives international master classes and he was director of the Yale Summer Piano Institute (1990-92) and of the International Summer Piano Institute in Hong Kong (1995-97).

Takashi Shimizu, Violin

Takashi Shimizu was born in Yokosuka, Japan. He began playing the violin at the age of 6, 3 years later he won the All Japan Student Violin Competition. The same year he made his television debut, playing with the NHK Symphony Orchestra for the wedding celebration of H.I.M. Prince Hitachi. At the age of 17, he gained public attention after winning 3 prizes at National Competitions after which he received a scholarship to study with Jascha Heifetz at the University of Southern California. He also studied with Michèle Auclair and Yfrah Neaman. After winning top prizes at International Competitions such as Jacques Thibaud, Carl Flesch, Granada and the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Takashi played in chamber music with Argerich, Menuhin, For Ts’ong, Gitlis,Gililov et al. He played in a piano trio with Martha Argerich and Misha Misky. Last season he played with orchestras in Japan, Romania, Ukraine, Korea and Italy. Takashi is a member of the faculty of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. This summer he will give master classes at Holland Music Sessions.

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