OTTAWA — Maestro Pinchas Zukerman, the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s longest standing Music Director has announced that he plans to step down at the end of his 16 year tenure on August 31, 2015. Since 1999, the internationally acclaimed conductor, violinist, violist and music educator has made the National Arts Centre (NAC) his musical home.
In a statement Mr. Zukerman said, “I am very proud of my work with the musicians of this wonderful Orchestra; together we have attained a tremendously high level of playing. I was pleased to play the leadership role in creating many of the NAC’s Music Education Programmes, including the Summer Music Institute and the Institute for Orchestral Studies - a legacy which gives me great pride.”
From the beginning of his tenure at the NAC, Mr. Zukerman brought an international level of excellence to the Orchestra—expanding the Orchestra and its repertoire, recruiting exceptional musicians and teaching the next generation of performers, conductors and composers.
“Pinchas Zukerman’s gift of music has delighted audiences across Canada and internationally,” said Peter Herrndorf the President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “The NAC has benefitted immeasurably from his leadership on the podium, his artistry as a soloist and his deep commitment to music education. Pinchas Zukerman has made a profound contribution to the musical life of Canada and the world and has served as a transformational figure at the National Arts Centre. He will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Zukerman has helped to attract international stars like Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma to the National Arts Centre. He is heavily in demand around the world performing throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In addition to his work with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Zukerman is a frequent guest with such esteemed ensembles as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Saint Louis.
A devoted and innovative teacher, Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music. To maintain close relationships with his students while fulfilling the travel demands of his concert engagements, Mr. Zukerman has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. Pinchas Zukerman’s extensive discography contains over 100 titles and has earned him 21 Grammy nominations and two awards.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1948, Pinchas Zukerman was first taught by his father to play the recorder, then the clarinet, and ultimately the violin and viola. At the age of eight, he began studying with Ilona Feher at the Israel Conservatory and the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv.
With the guidance of Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals, the support of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and scholarships from the Juilliard School and Helena Rubinstein Foundation, he came to America in 1962 to study with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School. In 1967, Mr. Zukerman won First Prize in the twenty-fifth Leventritt International Competition, setting the stage for his solo career. Mr. Zukerman was the winner of the inaugural Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence in 2002.
The National Arts Centre is a leader in the presentation of classical and contemporary music, dance, variety, English language theatre and French language theatre and works with artists and arts organizations across Canada. The National Arts Centre is also in the forefront of youth and education activities, including programs for young and emerging artists, young audiences, and the production of study materials for teachers.