"You can’t go wrong with such a finely-nuanced and expressive interpretation" Fanfare magazine.
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 and Günter Pichler among others with prominent orchestras in Europe and Israel such as the English Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, The Orchestre National de Lille, The Freiburg 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 as well as collaborating with artists such as: Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Prohaska, Vilde Frang, Sayaka Shoji, Mihaela Martin and Frans Helmerson amongst others.
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” festivals 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: the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival in Berlin and Jerusalem and the Radio-France music festival in Montpellier to name a few. In 2015 he was invited by Martha Argerich to play in “the Martha Argerich Project” festival in Lugano.
In 2010 he took part in playing the integral of Chopin’s piano works with 5 other pianists in all La Folle Journee festivals around the globe concluding in Warsaw (where it was recorded and filmed for Mezzo television channel).
Iddo was selected to be an artist in residence of “Les Dominicains de Haute Alsace” for the seasons 2014-15 and 2015-16 and has collaborated within this framework with shadows artist Philippe Beau for a project “Les Ombres Errantes” with Francois Couperin’s keyboard works. This project was highly acclaimed by the press and is planned to tour worldwide.
Other highlights for next year include a collaboration with renowned choreographer Sasha Waltz as well as playing the Mozart double concerto with the great pianist Menahem Pressler for the 80th anniversary of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.
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”, “Arte” and NHK television channels. He has also taken part in the recording of a DVD “Les Pianos de Demain” (Naïve/Idéale Audience) with cooperation of Arte and France-3 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 (notably being selected in the “Annual International Piano Awards 2006” of “International Piano” magazine as one of three best CDs in the category : “Rising star award for best debut recording”).
In December 2008 came out his CD recording with “Mirare” of Chopin Mazurkas which has received worldwide unanimous praise receiving highest possible markings from prestigious magazines such as “Le Figaro” and German “Fonoforum” described as a “magnificent achievement which confirms a new great talent of present keyboard” (Classique-news online magazine) and as “A major and unique CD” (“Le Devoir”). His last CD that came out in 2013 dedicated entirely to the works of Francois Couperin has been described as “a welcome addition to the Couperin discography. Bar-Shai’s playing is at once delicate and unshakable” by the American Records Guide and as “a disc that draws one in, demonstrating that Couperin is a viable composer for the modern piano, and Bar-Shaï does a splendid job. You can’t go wrong with such a finely-nuanced and expressive interpretation” by Fanfare magazine.