Pinchas Zukerman

Pinchas Zukerman (Hebrew: פנחס צוקרמן, born 16 July 1948[1]) is an Israeli-American violinist, violist and conductor.

Pinchas Zukerman
Pinchas Zukerman (cropped).jpg
Background information
Born (1948-07-16) 16 July 1948 (age 74)
Tel Aviv, Israel
Occupation(s)Conductor, pedagogue, violinist, violist
Instrument(s)Violin, viola
Years active1961–present

Life and careerEdit

Zukerman in 1980

Zukerman was born in Tel Aviv, to Jewish parents and Holocaust survivors Yehuda and Miriam Lieberman Zukerman.[2] He began his musical studies at age four, on the recorder. His father then taught him to play the clarinet and then the violin at age eight. Early studies were at the Samuel Rubin Academy of Music (now the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music). Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals learned of Zukerman's violin talent during a 1962 visit to Israel. Zukerman subsequently moved to the United States that year to study at the Juilliard School[3] under Stern and Ivan Galamian. He made his New York City debut in 1963. In 1967, he shared the Leventritt Prize with the Korean violinist Kyung-wha Chung. His 1969 debut recordings of the concerti by Tchaikovsky (under the direction of Antal Dorati, with the London Symphony Orchestra) and Mendelssohn (with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic) launched a successful recording career of over 110 releases.

Zukerman launched his conducting career in 1970 with the English Chamber Orchestra, and served as director of London's South Bank Festival from 1971 to 1974. In the US, Zukerman was music director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 1980 to 1987. He later directed the summer festivals of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (1991–95) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (1996–99). In 1999, he became Music Director of Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) in Ottawa,[4][5] stepping down from the post in 2015. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra since 2009.

Zukerman is on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and is the head and founder of the Zukerman Performance Program at the school. His former students include Koh Gabriel Kameda, Julian Rachlin, and Guy Braunstein. In 1999 he founded the National Arts Centre Young Artists Programme, which counts young musicians such as Viviane Hagner, Jessica Linnebach, and Antal Szalai as alumni. In 2006 Zukerman began his involvement in the Rolex Artistic Mentorship programme.

In 2021, in a virtual masterclass hosted by the Juilliard School, Zukerman angered many musicians, students and teachers by reinforcing racial and cultural stereotypes. He told two sisters of half Japanese descent that they were playing too perfectly and needed to add more "soy sauce" to their playing, and said that they needed to play more lyrically and that people in Korea and Japan do not sing. He later explained, "It's not in their DNA." Juilliard decided to not release the video for further viewing. Zukerman has apologized for his "culturally insensitive" comments and said he will do better in the future.[6][7]

Zukerman performed in 2021 with the Reading Symphony Orchestra as a part of Violins of Hope PA.[8]

Zukerman plays the "Dushkin" Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1742. His honors include the King Solomon Award, the National Medal of Arts (presented by President Reagan in 1983), the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence, and an honorary doctorate from Brown University.

Personal lifeEdit

Zukerman was married to Eugenia Rich in 1968.[9] The couple had two daughters together, opera singer Arianna Zukerman and blues/folk musician Natalia Zukerman.[10][11][12] They frequently appeared together in concert until their divorce in 1985. Zukerman was then married to actress Tuesday Weld from 1985 to 1998. He and his third wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth, primarily reside in New York City. They often appear as soloists together.


His recordings have received 21 Grammy nominations, and two Grammy wins.[13] He has collaborated with filmmaker Christopher Nupen on several projects, and was the subject of Nupen's "Pinchas Zukerman: Here to Make Music" documentary of 1974. In 2003 he founded a string quintet, the Zukerman Chamber Players, which has released three CD recordings in addition to its roster of live performances.



  1. ^ Britannica biography
  2. ^ Interview on Youtube
  3. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas (1978). "Zukerman, Pinchas". Baker's Biographical dictionary of musicians (6th ed.). New York: Schirmer Books. p. 1952. ISBN 0-02-870240-9.
  4. ^ "Pinchas Zukerman leaves legacy as a builder". Peter Robb, Ottawa Citizen, September 24, 2014
  5. ^ "Mr. Diplomacy sticks around". Maclean's, Jaime J. Weinman, September 4, 2006
  6. ^ "Pinchas Zukerman Apologizes for Offensive Racial Stereotypes". The Violin Channel. 2021-06-28. Retrieved 2021-07-13.
  7. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (2021-06-28). "Violinist Apologizes for 'Culturally Insensitive' Remarks About Asians". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-07-13.
  8. ^ "Violins of Hope PA - Events". Violins of Hope PA. 2021. Retrieved November 8, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Raymond Erickson (October 10, 1980). "The Busy Life of Eugenia Zukerman, Flutist-Author". The New York Times. p. T4.
  10. ^ "What They're Doing Together". The New York Times. March 11, 1979. p. SM16.
  11. ^ Cole Haddon (March 2, 2006). "Natalia Zukerman". West Word.
  12. ^ "Arianna Zukerman, Peter Sekulow". The New York Times. November 11, 2007. p. 921.
  13. ^ "Pinchas Zukerman". 2020-05-19. Retrieved 2020-08-31.


  • Boris Schwarz: Great Masters of the Violin. From Corelli and Vivaldi to Stern, Zukerman and Perlman. Simon and Schuster, New York 1983.
  • Darryl Lyman: Great Jews in Music. J. D. Publishers, Middle Village, NY 1986.
  • Stanley Sadie, H. Wiley Hitchcock (Ed.): The new Grove dictionary of American music. Grove's Dictionaries of Music, New York, N.Y 1986.
  • Kurtz Myers: Index to record reviews 1984-1987. G.K. Hall, Boston, Ma. 1989.
  • Alan Rich: Masters of Music: Great artists at work. Preface by Nicolas Slonimsky, foreword by Isaac Stern, photographs by James Arkatov. Capra Press, Santa Barbara, Ca. 1990.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Music Director, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music Director, National Arts Centre Orchestra
Succeeded by
Shelley Alexander