Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman, in technique and sensibility, harkens back to the Golden Age of violinists of the 19th and 20th centuries, while possessing the passion and energy of the 21st century. Lauded by both critics and audiences as a performer of great depth, virtuosity and technical brilliance. AICF caught up with Vadim to learn about his career as a musician and educator, and what inspires him to play all around the world.
1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
It is difficult to pinpoint one particular incident or a person. As a child I of course was encouraged by my parents (both are musicians) and my first teacher, but I think that the inspiration to become a concert artist was, and still is, a process. I was inspired by my very first concerts, where for the first time I felt the unexplainable, mysterious connection with the audience; understanding that through music I was able to express myself in the most profound way and discovering that I can’t live without it.
2) What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
At the age of 16, just two weeks after making my aliyah to Israel, I had the good fortune to meet Isaac Stern. That day changed the rest of my life. Isaac had the most incredible ability to show new avenues in music, to encourage, and insist that one never should be satisfied with oneself. Every encounter with him after that was nothing short of enlightenment. Through his recommendation I became a recipient of an AICF scholarship, which supported my studies the next five years and lent me a wonderful Pietro Guarneri violin. With that violin I won number of competitions culminating in receiving the 1994 Henryk Szeryng Career Award in Monaco, which started my concert career.
3) What do you need as an artist today?
I am extraordinarily privileged to be working with some of the greatest orchestras and conductors of today, to be making records with musicians that I love, and perform before audiences all over the world. They are my inspiration, my drive to go forward! My main concern lately is finding a few quiet hours to be able to practice and prepare for the next concerts. Constant traveling and an enormous amount of repertoire to cover do not make this task easy! Two weeks ago, following my concert with the London Philharmonic the night before, I found myself seating at the lounge of Heathrow Airport at 6 in the morning, playing with my practice mute… Another important side of my life as an artist is having an opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with the younger generation. Keshet Eilon International Music Center is one of my artistic homes. I was among the first students at the first edition of Keshet Eilon and for the last 13 years have been coming back as one of the professors. It is a unique place where talent is truly nurtured and students are inspired to reach new heights. I can’t wait for the summer to come!
4) What creative project are you working on now?
I am preparing for my next recording for BIS Records, a wonderful company that I have been recording with for almost ten years. This time it is a solo album: Partitas of Bach, Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 2 and the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s “Par.ti.ta”. In preparation is also the second edition of the North Shore Chamber Music Festival, which my wife, Angela Yoffe, and I started last year. The first week of June will see stars from the classical music world descending onto Chicago’s North Shore. Among them is the Pacifica Quartet and Israeli Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein (also a former recipient of AICF!). And, as always, I am working on exciting repertoire like Sofia Gubaidulina’s Ofertorim and Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 2, both of which I perform extensively this season and plan to record in the next one.
5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
I see myself continuing touring and recording, as I am a violinist first and foremost! I hope to see my festival sustain, grow and attract even more wonderful musicians and a dedicated audience! I hope to be able to contribute to the education of the new generation of Israeli violinists through my involvement with Keshet Eilon. I plan to continue working with composers of our day, premiering and recording their works. For me this is one of the most important aspects of my musical life: one of the ways to ensure the future of our art form. In short, I look forward to being a musician!
6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
This is an important subject for me. As an Oleh (one who has made a repatriation – an aliyah), not only am I lucky to have a home, but to experience finding it! This is a feeling incomparable to any other. I am proud to be an Israeli, proud to have served in IDF (even if it was quite brief), and I’m proud to call Israel my home. I feel a great deal of responsibility representing my country on concert stages around the world!
7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF available in the art world?
I feel that organizations like AICF give hope to the future of the arts community worldwide, particularly Israel. At times of greatest financial and economic struggle I know that AICF is relentless in its determination of supporting the young Israeli artists. The AICF’s history shows us the importance of their mission through the achievements of generations of our musicians, dancers and visual artists that were supported. I am fortunate to count myself among them.