Amihai Grosz / Viola
Amihai Grosz, born in 1979 in Jerusalem, initially learned to play the violin at the age of 5 before switching to the viola at age 11. In Jerusalem, he was taught by David Chen, later by Tabea Zimmermann in Frankfurt and Berlin as well as in Jerusalem by Haim Taub, who had a formative influence on him. Between 1993 and 1999, Amihai Grosz received scholarships through the American-Israeli Cultural Foundation and was a member of the “Young Musicians Group” of the Jerusalem Music Center, a program for outstanding young musical talents. This gave him the opportunity, at a very young age, to work with renowned artists such as Isaac Stern and the Guarneri Quartet. As early as 1996, he won the First Prize in the Braun Roger Siegel Competition of the University of Jerusalem. In 2007, he received the renowned Gottesman Prize for Viola in the Aviv Competition, the most prominent competition in Israel.
The fascination with the viola, which he consciously chose as his instrument as a child, stems from the instrument’s ambivalence. According to Grosz, “its sound is the closest thing to the human voice, and can at times sound like a violin, at other times like a violoncello; its timbre is not defined”. Grosz’ musical background corresponds to this “non-defined” aspect: In Israel, there was not just one school of teaching; instead, young musicians were shaped by Mediterranean influences and by Russian and German traditions, while their curiosity to discover new things was constantly fostered.
For Amihai Grosz, chamber music is the foundation of his work. In 1995, together with the other section leaders from the University Orchestra of the Jerusalem Music Center, he founded the Jerusalem String Quartet, one of the most interesting young quartets around today. From the very beginning, the four musicians aimed to create a distinctive sound, to find a language with its own individual character. The Jerusalem Quartet, which early on won the Borletti Buitoni Trust Award, gained its central musical stimuli in master-classes taught by Isaac Stern, the LaSalle Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet and by Frank Peter Zimmermann. Every year, the Quartet awards a composition commission to an Israeli composer. The ensemble gives concerts at all major international venues – the Tonhalle Zurich, the Wigmore and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Sydney Opera House, to name just a few. The Quartet has an exclusive contract with the label Harmonia Mundi. A number of recordings have been awarded international prizes like the BBC Music Magazine Chamber Award or the ECHO Classic Award 2009.
Amihai Grosz collaborates, in solo and in chamber music projects, with artists such as Yefim Bronfman, Emmanuel Pahud, Mitsuko Uchida, Oleg Maisenberg, Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin and David Geringas; he performs in concert halls and at festivals all over the world, amongst others, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, Delft Festival, Salon Festival and Verbier Festival, BBC Proms, Bahnhof Rolandseck, Utrecht International Chamber Music Festival, Spectrum Concerts Berlin and West Cork Chamber Music Festival.
In the beginning of the 2010/11 season, Amihai Grosz was appointed the Principal Violist of the Berlin Philharmonic, an orchestra with which he has worked on various projects in recent years. Furthermore, Grosz has devoted more time to his solo career and has appeared as a soloist with such renowned orchestras as Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra or the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include concerts in the Valencia Opera House, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Megaron in Athens and with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Amihai Grosz plays a 1570 Gaspar-da-Salo viola, which is a lifelong loan made available to him by a private collection.