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Artists IDDO BAR-SHAÏ > BIOGRAPHY

IDDO BAR-SHAÏ / PIANIST

• BIOGRAPHY

The Israeli pianist Iddo Bar-Shai was born in 1977 in Nazareth Illit. He studied with Bracha Ornan-Margalit in Haifa and with Prof. Pnina Salzman in the piano department at the Rubin Music Academy in Tel-Aviv University, also receiving guidance from Maestro Alexis Weissenberg. At early stages he attracted attention for his playing and already at the age of 11 he was a recipient of the America - Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships.

Since then his career has taken on an international dimension: he has performed on important stages such as the Wigmore Hall (London), the Mann Auditorium (Tel Aviv), the Theatre des Champs Elysees (Paris), the Tokyo Opera City Hall, The Beijing Zhongshan Concert Hall and others in various countries among which are many European countries, Israel, The USA, Japan, The People’s Republic of China and Brazil.

He first performed as a soloist with an orchestra at the age of twelve, and has subsequently played under the batons of Lawrence Foster, Aldo Ceccato, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Horia Andreescu among others with prominent orchestras in Europe and Israel such as the English Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony –IBA, the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and others.
Iddo Bar-Shai is keen to enjoy all the varied possibilities offered by his instrument, and regularly performs chamber music with such ensembles as the Ysaÿe Quartet, the Aviv Quartet, the Ebène Quartet, the Modigliani Quartet and the American String Quartet.

He has been a participant of the Verbier Festival & Academy and in the “Steans Institute” program at the Ravinia Festival. In 2004 he gave his début recital in the prestigious International Piano Festival of La Roque d’Anthéron in France and since then he has been performing there every year. He has been also regularly performing in the “La Folle Journée” festival taking place in Nantes, Lisbon, Tokyo, Warsaw and Rio de Janeiro and the La Grange de Meslay festival (France). Other festivals he took part in are: Music series of the Music Festival de Sion and the Radio-France music festival in Montpellier to name a few.

Iddo Bar-Shai is a first prize winner of various competitions among which: the Israeli Radio Broadcasting “Young Artist “ piano competition in 1997, the Tel - Aviv Chopin competition in 1998, the “Aviv Competitions”: Israel’s most acclaimed national competition for young musicians in 1999 and “The Peter Jay Sharp Competition – The Vendome Prize” in 2000.

His performances have been recorded and broadcast by French, Israeli, Swiss, German, Dutch, Irish and American radio channels and live performances of his were recorded and broadcast by "Mezzo" and "Arte" television channels.
In 2006 was released a CD with his playing of Haydn piano works under the “Mirare” label which gained much praise in the press: receiving “5 diapasons” from the “Diapason” magazine, described as “one of the best ever, dedicated to the piano works of Haydn” by “Le Monde de La Musique” , as an “outstanding release – an obligatory purchase for all lovers of the Classical repertoire” by “International Piano” magazine and as a "superb recital that announces the arrival of a pianist of a grand talent who joins his predecessors, Curzon and De Larrocha in the Andante, Brendel and Gould for the sonatas" by "Classica Répertoire", and has been selected and awarded by various magazines and radio channels.
In 2012 came out his latest recording with "Mirare" of Couperin pieces which has received worldwide unanimous praise as his previous recording of Chopin Mazurkas (Mirare 2008), receiving highest possible markings from prestigious magazines such as « Le Figaro » and German Fonoforum.
(Artist NE)

Haydn sonata in D Major Hob XVI
Les ombres errantes, de Couperin

IDDO BAR-SHAÏ / PIANIST

• DISCOGRAPHY

FRANÇOIS COUPERIN
Les Ombres Errantes
Iddo Bar-ShaÏ
CHOPIN
Mazurkas
Iddo Bar-ShaÏ
FRANÇOIS COUPERIN
Les Ombres Errantes
Iddo Bar-ShaÏ
J'ÉCOUTE MOZART AVEC MON PAPA
Iddo Bar-ShaÏ
Haydn sonata in D Major Hob XVI
Les ombres errantes, de Couperin

IDDO BAR-SHAÏ / PIANIST

• Press

About Haydn’s sonatas recording

« This is a thrilling debut...his performances are nothing short of revelatory. Bar-Shaï takes the sonatas seriously -and thus reveals their anticipation of Beethoven’s-without desiccating or romanticizing them. Slow mouvements are sensitively poised and three presto finales bubble excitingly. Nothing is under -or over stated ; everything is natural and unforced yet refined and polished- a rare combination. Mirare’s detailed documentation completes an outstanding release. It is fervently to be hoped that Bar-Shaï will record all Haydn’s sonatas, as he excels even Alfred Brendel, who sounds calculated and self-conscious by comparison. In any case, this is an obligatory purchase for all lovers of the Classical repertoire. » (Joe Laredo, International Piano Magazine, september-october 2006 / also selected in the Annual International Piano Awards 2006 of this magazine as one of three best CDs in the category : « Rising star award for best debut recording », November-December 2006)

"Iddo Bar-Shai brings these sonatas to life with a highest musical intelligence... This superb recital announces the arrival of a pianist of a grand talent who joins his predecessors, Curzon and De Larrocha in the Andante, Brendel and Gould for the sonatas." (Stéphane Friédérich, "Classica Répertoire", November 2006 edition on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare) 

“…in an overwhelming naturalness, keeping the effects, playing with accents the syncopations and the silences at an unbelievable ease. The Sonata in G (Hob XVI/ 40, in two movements) is probably the summit of the program, perfectly put together with its marvelous Allegretto innocente which fills one with tears and this Presto liberating its joy: one does not see an equivalent for this in the discography. …The Variations in F minor accomplish a convincing sense of the marching and of the Haydnian temperament of Iddo Bar-Shai, born under very good stars. ” (Etienne Moreau, Diapason, October 2006, « 5 diapasons » on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare )

“Iddo Bar-Shai plays it marvelously (the finale is more lifting than with Richter- Decca), but it is mostly in the central “Adagio” in D minor that Iddo Bar-Shai’s specific qualities appear : he plays these pages in an intimate and interiorized way which is the case also in the other slow movements and especially the famous Variations in F minor of 1793. In this piece, taken rather slowly and with mystery, the coda is splendid. It melts little by little into the silence, bringing up a high degree of emotion. …this CD, with its reflecting sonorities, is one of the best ever dedicated to Haydn’s piano works.”
(Marc Vignal, “Le Monde de la Musique”, November 2006, on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare)


About Chopin’s Mazurkas recording

"…His Chopin is marvelous, thanks to his touch that goes from grace to dream, pain and nostalgia… This new recital on disc is a shear jewel of musicality, delicacy, penetrating intelligence. It comes after his Haydn CD and confirms the personality of Israeli pianist, Iddo Bar-Shai, 31. The pianist always finds the appropriate tone, between tension, energy, hypersensitivity, delicateness, heart pulses, vertigo of the soul, precise chiseling of harmonies that are sometimes bizarre, soft dreamlike ornaments…

This exploding cocktail that is the basis of Chopin’s magic : the painful thrust, Polish tropism ; the French grace and balance ; the deepness of German romanticism …
The suggestive and chiseled touch of the pianist is a new face of his maestria. We admired so much his first Mirare record with the Haydn sonatas in 2006. His Chopin quivers, gets excited, unveils himself but always with a perceptible ounce of false lightness, aristocratic elegance, and a sensitive grand style. A sensitive panache which reveals itself to be exciting. The pianist’s touch is memorable, deeply impressive by the chiseled flow in ethereal softness, this quality of dreams which characterizes Chopin’s intimate and secret poetry. A magnificent achievement which confirms a new great talent of present keyboard."
(Stéphanie Bataille, Classique News, November 20th 2008 /on “Chopin Mazurkas” CD- Mirare)

"… As from the first bars of this recital, the ear is drawn up and until the end of this chronologically applied voyage through the world of mazurkas of Chopin one remains captivated – yes seized and fascinated by the effortless elegance of the play and the velvet touch, which successfully hits the core of this music.
Iddo bar-Shai trusts himself to go far beyond the secure terrain of solid fidelity to the work: he interprets decidedly, puts the chevaleresque rhythms, the melodic bows and the harmonic finesses of his choice of mazurkas in a free and pronounciated way but perfect in form, in piano-play and arch-musically. He is a phenomenal legato- and pianissimo-player, who outbids the 30 works with much adolescent-unconsumed phantasie, without once becoming abrasive or aloud. As if self evidently, Bar-Shai succeeds in giving every mazurka a convincing form and at the same time being true to the intimacy of the art of Chopin. Fantastic."
(Ingo Harden, "Fonoforum", 2009 “5 Stars” / on “Chopin Mazurkas” CD- Mirare)

"…Listening to this music played by Israeli Bar-Shai as if he had always breathed it, you become dizzy when you think of the stilted and affected records by Polish Rafal Blechacz, the winner of the Chopin competition… But believe me, Iddo Bar-Shai is the one to be followed.
First, there is this bizarre pulsation that cannot be invented and cannot be learnt. This is like Schumann : one has it or does not. Bar-Shai has it… What is striking first is the incredible porcelain delicacy that Bar-Shai can show. When you follow this journey, you realize that the mazurkas are Chopin’s intimate diary, a report of his cracks and his fragility. One is very far from a series of dances as one is in the field of confession. This unexpected and very subjective travel (the subjectivity of a true artist, not of a sentiment faker) is one of the great surprises of Chopin discography…"
(Christophe Huss, "ClassicsToday France", about " Chopin Mazurkas" MIR075, 2009)


About Couperin’s Recording : « Les Ombres Errantes » Mirare (MIR195)

The pianist knows how to capture the spirit of each piece, serious or brilliant, evoking a landscape or a pastoral scene. How can one resist such a fine touch?
Stéphane Friédérich / Classica/ May 2013

There are those rare listening occasions that immediately sweep you right off your feet for a magical journey from which you only return after the final note. Such is the journey that Iddo Bar-Shaï has sent us on, with his new album… Iddo Bar-Shai has all the distinctions for transfiguring the art of Couperin, its delicacy, effervescence, dancing elegance, liveliness and elation, into an experience as captivating as it is poetic and demanding…Fundamentally, Iddo Bar-Shaï is an outstanding virtuoso, as he leads one to believe at appropriate occasions, and yet his virtuosity is presented with noble discretion – at the service of the genius, of the energy creator, and of the process leading to the final creation. Each one of these memorable miniatures reveals an individual personality, each one constitutes a clear connection in the journey on which Iddo Bar-Shaï invites his listeners, at each note. After listening to Iddo Bar-Shai’s Couperin interpretation, I now see him as one of the most lyrical and refined pianists of our time.
Christoph Schlüren / "The Listener"/ 18.6.2013

The sound is probably richer and more refined than the young generation’s current trend, a good point to convey the myriads of iridescences of this music. The sense of the discourse is free and audacious…
Philippe Ramin/ Diapason/ May 2013

Evocative or enigmatic, the titles inspire Iddo Bar-Shai to a reading which is lively, limpid and light. The Israeli goldsmith threads the pieces like real pearls on a silver chain. Surprise; he presents these beautiful baroque treasures on today’s Steinway. His piano, devoid of any severity, could almost pass for a period instrument. La Liberté (Suisse) / 09.03.2013
It’s with stunning talent that the pianist Iddo Bar-Shaï submitted 25 miniatures to the Mirare label that are worthy of stomping out any lasting doubt. His touch is deft, voluptuous and polished. Between the voices each phrase exhales individually. When the baroque phrase’s mechanism begins, so does the movement, instructed by grace, as if slightly wet by the wake of a wave of a subtle agogic… With enchantment, Bar-Shaï interprets pieces that are practically impossible to perform on instruments that only have one keyboard. The notes, springing with life, repeated in Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou Les Maillotins are just simply electrifying…Helmut Rohm / "Bayerischer Rundfunk"/ 22.04.2013

Israeli pianist Iddo Bar-Shai has become well known for his highly poetical Haydn sonatas. He goes further now, conferring on these 25 short musical pieces grandeur and rich sounds that sometimes are close to anachronism, but he succeeds not to fall in it. In these pieces which are so elliptic that they are hardly decipherable, he researched a chiaroscuro evoking works by de La Tour and Delacroix as well.
François Lafon / Musikzen/ 6.5.2013

Haydn sonata in D Major Hob XVI
Les ombres errantes, de Couperin
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