Ivry Gitlis

Israeli violinist, composer and writer (1922, Haifa -)

World-renowned virtuoso violinist, Ivry Gitlis has performed as a soloist with the most prestigious orchestras and under the greatest conductors’ direction. He is very much involved in the popularization of music among children and is the founder of many festivals. Beyond his musical career, he is also a great defender of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Initiated to the violin at the age of six, Ivry Gitlis gave his first concert barely a year later. Encouraged by musician Bronislaw Huberman, he left for Europe. He continued his studies in 1932 with Jules Boucherit at the Paris Conservatory (where he obtained a first prize in 1934) and with the eminent violinist Carl Flesch in London. He also worked with Jacques Thibaud and Georges Enesco, two great violin figures, and also met Jascha Heifetz and Théodore Paskus.

Following his participation in the Jacques Thibaud Competition in 1951, Ivry Gitlis' career began to take shape. He immediately recorded his first album Alban Berg’s Le concerto à la mémoire d'un ange (The Concerto in Memory of an Angel), a recording that won the Grand Prix du Disque. In 1955, he became the first Israeli violinist to play in the USSR after meeting the impresario Sol Hurok. He has performed with many major orchestras and under the direction of conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboïm, Hans Roshaud, Stanislaw Wislocki, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Eugene Ormandy and William Steinberg. Recognized by the highest awards in France and abroad, Ivry Gitlis is also a sought performer by many contemporary composers, including Bruno Maderna and Lannis Xenakis.

Six landmark dates in the life of Ivry Gitlis

1968: Appeared with Yoko Ono in The Rock and Roll Circus, filmed concert of the Rolling Stones.

1972: Created and animated the Vence music festival

1972: Creation of the piece Mikka by Iannis Xenakis

1975: Appeared in François Truffaut’s The Story of Adèle H. 

1981: Acted as René Vivien (violonist tramp) in the episode "Maigret et l'homme tout seul" (Maigret and the lonely man) of the series Les Enquêtes du Commissaire Maigret.

2008: Became a sponsor and finally the honorary president of the association Inspiration(s)