The steady rise of an Israeli pianist who caught the ear of Daniel Barenboim

10.01.10
Shai Wosner
Gramophone

Considering that one of his fellow Avery Fisher Grant recipients back in 2005 was the now rather famous violinist James Ehnes, one might say that it’s about time for Shai Wosner. But then again, the Israeli pianist is still only 34 and already has a clutch of accolades – not  least as a recipient of a grant from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust and a member of the BBC’s New Generation Artists scheme – and his first showcase CD, issued this month by Onyx (with repertoire including Brahms and Schoenberg). Which, coincidentally, makes him a label-mate of James Ehnes. And there are worse career paths to follow.

A veteran of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (a memorable London Prom in 2003 saw him playing Mozart’s Concerto for Three Pianos alongside Barenboim and Palestinian pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar), Wosner has already garnered good reviews around the world. The Guardian newspaper recognized his “eloquently sustained…lively and intelligent” qualities in a Mozart concert at last year’s Proms, the New York Times has praised his “wonderfully supple touch” and earlier this year the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: “The ingredients that were in the young Rudolf Serkin are all here. Let’s hear him more.”

The last request is bound to be fulfilled. Wosner is increasingly in demand. The coming months will see him giving concerts in the UK, Spain and the US (including at Lincoln Center in New York, the city where he now lives). Oh, and a very thoughtful blog on his website is well worth checking out, too.