Shlomo Mintz is considered by colleagues, audiences and critics one of the foremost violinists of our time, esteemed for his impeccable musicianship, stylistic versatility, and commanding technique. He has long been acclaimed as a celebrated guest artist with many of the great orchestras and conductors on the international stage and continues to enchant audiences with his playing.
Awarded with many prestigious international prizes including the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, the Diapason D’Or, the Grand Prix du Disque, the Gramophone Award, the Edison Award and the Cremona Music Award, in 2006 he received an Honorary Degree from the Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.
Born in Moscow in 1959, when he was two, his family immigrated to Israel, where he studied with Ilona Feher, a student of Jeno Hubay. Feher introduced Shlomo Mintz to Isaac Stern, who became his mentor. He was also a student of Dorothy DeLay in New York.
His first performance on stage was at age 6 and at age 11, he played as soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Soon afterward, he was called on a week's notice by Zubin Mehta to play Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 6, with the orchestra when Itzhak Perlman fell ill. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of sixteen with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (conducted by William Steinberg). Under the auspices of Isaac Stern and the American-Israel Cultural Foundation he started studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and at the age of 18, he made an extensive tour through Europe and signed, still in his early twenties, a long-term recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Berlin, Vienna, Concertgebouw, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York Philharmonic Orchestras then invited him frequently.
Along his career, he has collaborated with such a famous artists like Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, Antal Dorati, Erich Leinsdorf, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Yuri Temirkanov, Ida Haendel and Ivry Gitlis, among many others.
At the age of eighteen, Mintz launched a parallel career as a conductor, and has since led acclaimed orchestras worldwide including the Royal Philharmonic (United Kingdom), the NHK Symphony (Japan) and the Israel Philharmonic, as well as the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, La Scala di Milano, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, La Fenice, Detroit Symphony and Teatro Colón.
He was music advisor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra from 1989 to 1993, and in March 1994 was appointed artistic advisor and principal guest conductor of the Maastricht Symphony in the Netherlands, which he led for some weeks during four seasons, sometimes as both conductor and violin soloist. In 2008, he became principal guest conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic. From 2002 to 2012, he was artistic director of the Sion-Valais International Music Festival. Mintz was also the artistic director of Arena di Verona.
He was one of the founders of the Keshet Eilon International Violin Mastercourse in Israel, an advanced-level summer program for young talented violinists from all around the world in Kibbutz Eilon, Israel, and served as a patron there for eighteen years (1992-2010) and is one of the main actors/co-founder of the "Violins of Hope" project: forty-five violins whose owners lost their lives in ghettos and concentration camps during World War II, restored and displayed internationally. The Violins of Hope were presented in a special event in Jerusalem for the sixtieth-anniversary celebration of the State of Israel.
Regularly invited by the most prestigious international competitions, Mintz has served as a jury member of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1993) and the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels (1993 and 2001). He was also invited to be jury president of the International Henryk Wieniawski Competition (October 2001) for the Violin in Poznań, Poland. From 2002 to 2011, he was jury president of the Sion Valais-International Violin Competition in Switzerland and from 2012 to 2018, the Artistic Director of Crans-Montana Classics, a high-level violin Mastercourse and Festival, also in Switzerland.
Currently, he is the Mentor and President of the Jury of the International Violin Competition Buenos Aires in Argentina, President of Jury and Artistic Director of Tucuman (Argentina) Festival and National Violin Competition, as well as the president of the Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition in Japan and the Ilona Fehér Budapest Violin Competition in Hungary.
To celebrate Shlomo Mintz’s 60th Birthday, Deutsche Grammophon have re-released his recordings as a 13 CD Edition. These include the legendary recordings of the Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Sibelius, Lalo and Vieuxtemps violin concertos with great orchestras and conductors such as Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta
In recent times Mintz has added composing to his talents as violinist, violist and conductor, with compositions for orchestra and chamber ensembles. His “Anthem To An Unkown Nation” was premiered in June 2017 at the Vigadó Grand Hall, Budapest and his Sonatina for violin and piano, premiered in Domodossola and Istanbul on October 2017.
"The sound Shlomo Mintz channeled in Beethoven's Violin Concerto, was beautiful, precise and polished and couldn’t be faulted from the deepest to the highest of notes. The soloing was noble, never gratuitously showy and always alert to the orchestra. Had the concert hall’s roof caved in, there was such gravitas in Mintz’ brilliant delivery, the magnificence of his singing violin would have continued.."
Limelight Magazine (Australia)
“A wonderful sound. The violin of Shlomo Mintz sounded yesterday as rarely happens in the auditorium Prince Felipe de Oviedo. On top of that Mintz simultaneously conducted two of the three works in the program… Resounding success ... What else to say to the awesome encores "Obsession" Sonata No. 2 Ysayë or the excellent cadence in Vieuxtemps Concerto”
Javier Neira, Oviedo
"Mintz was technically brilliant, showing off his exquisite left hand technique... After an avalanche of Violin's Most Scary Techniques, ... delivered with flawless intonation, over extreme terrain, I knew that I had witnessed one of the most memorable performances of my life.
Andy Wilding, Cape Town
"Equipped with only his violin and Paganini’s Caprice No.24, Mintz blew us away with a magnanimous onslaught of violin technique... By the time interval began we were left breathless, wondering how we could ever listen to a violin in the same way again."
Mustapha Hendricks & Lutz Manzelmann, Cape Town
“We have heard the great violinist Shlomo Mintz last week, as the conductor and the soloist of the Cameristi della Scala performing Bach violin concertos nr. 1 and nr. 2… Besides years of experience of Mintz as a musician, his deep respect to the composer also captured our attention. Especially the sentences that he assembled on the heavy parts, was braided with clear and beautiful tones...”
Evin Ilyasoglu, Cumhuriyet, Istanbul
"The most ravishingly beautiful playing we mortals can hope to hear”
Milwaukee Sentinel, USA
“Shlomo Mintz, a fine guest at the first of three Ontario Philharmonic concerts at Koerner Hall … The evening started with a flourish as star violinist Shlomo Mintz marked his 50th anniversary on stage with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. It was a vigorous, sharp-edged performance that highlighted the virtuosic side of this concert hall warhorse”
Toronto Star, Toronto
“Mintz’s musical thinking is instinctive. His tone, aged for 50 years on the concert stage, is rich and gritty. He bows with a firm hand, strokes bold as charcoal…This is a heart-on-sleeve performance, fierce and emotional, not especially gentle, more energetic, masculine, athletic.”
OpusOneReview, Stanley Fefferman, Toronto
“Those fortunate persons who attended the concert had the singular occasion to listen one of the greatest violinists of these days.”
La Nacion, Buenos Aires