Saleem Abboud Ashkar, the Palestinian-Israeli pianist was born in 1976, studied with Maria Curcio in London and currently studies with Arie Vardi in Hanover, Germany. Mr. Ashkar is a twice first price winner of the Clairmont Competition for young artists in Israel. He regularly appears as soloist with most of the orchestras in Israel, including The Israeli Chamber Orchestra, The Haifa Symphony, The Jerusalem Symphony, The Jerusalem Kamerata and has performed several times with The Israeli Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta.
Out side Israel, Mr. Ashkar has performed as arecitalist and chamber musician in such cities as Warsaw, Florence, Oslo, Frankfurt, Brussels, Concertgebou of Amsterdam and in Paris where he performed with violinist Gil Shaham. He was the recipient of a scholarship and played a solo recital in the prestigious Ruhr Piano Festival as the young talent of the year 2000. He has recently performed as soloist with the State Opera Orchestra of Berlin and the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig.and with the Jerusalem symphoney in Melano.
Feuture ingagements include appearances with the state opera orchestra of Berlin,the Jerusalem symphoney orchesstra, chamber music and recitals in israel, euroupe and the united states including the symphoney hall,chicago.
In the summer of 1999, Mr. Ashkar participated in the West-East Divan, a master class held by maestro Daniel Barenboim. In that master class he met and played for the first time with Israeli pianist Shai Wosner with whom he performed the Mozart double piano concerto at the closing concert of the master class under the baton of maestro Barenboim. It did not take long until Maestro Barenboim invited them to Chicago where they performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In March 2000 they were invited again by maestro Barenboim to participate in his Carnigie Hall workshop for pianists, which culminated in a Carnigie Hall concert in which they both performed as soloists with the Chicago Civic Orchestra with maestro Barenboim conducting. In july 2001 they performed the mozart triple piano concerto with maestro Barenboim in the workshop held in Chicago.
Shai Wosner, a student of Emanuel Ax (at the Juilliard School), is active both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. He performed the Mozart Double Concerto under the direction of Maestro Daniel Barenboim at Symphony Center with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1999) and at Carnegie Hall with the Chicago Civic Orchestra (2000). He also performed as soloist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall (1999). In December of 1999 he was featured in the “Rising Stars” recital series of the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. Recently, he appeared with the Radio-Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt, conducted by Ilan Volkov, as well as in recitals in Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands.
As he takes interest in contemporary music, Shai Wosner was recently invited to participate in The Pierre Boulez Workshop at Carnegie Hall (2001). Other appearances in contemporary music frameworks include the “Ars Musica” festival in Brussels, where he was invited to perform György Ligeti’s Piano Concerto under the direction of James Wood. He was also involved there in cooperation with composer Salvatore Sciarrino in a project based on his piano music (2000), which was later released on CD (“Cypres”). He returned to the festival in 2001.
Recently, he performed Bright Sheng’s “Red Silk Dance” (2000) with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bramwell Tovey. A prizewinner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition (1999), Shai Wosner also received awards in other international piano competitions such as Palm Beach and Senigallia, Italy. Both in Palm Beach and the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv (1995) he received an award for the performance of Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata.
He has been a recipient of America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships since 1991. Born in Israel in 1976, he studied for 12 years with Prof. Emanuel Krasovsky of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. Simultaneously, he also studied composition, theory and improvisation with Prof. André Hajdu, with whom he has participated in various improvisation concerts and activities.
Wosner participated in the Tanglewood Music Center (1998). He also participated in the West-Eastern Divan Workshop held by Maestro Daniel Barenboim and cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Weimar in 1999. He has been featured on radio and television in the United States, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Israel.