Menuhin Professor of Music
Born in 1974, Maxim Vengerov began his career as a solo violinist at the age of five, winning prestigious international competitions soon after and has collaborated with the world’s finest conductors and instrumentalists world-wide ever since. He made his first recoding at the age of ten, and has recorded the entire violin repertoire for a number of high-profile labels, including Teldec and EMI, receiving many prestigious awards and nominations including a Grammy and Gramophone Artist of the Year.
He studied first with Galina Tourchaninova and subsequently with Professor Bron.
Maxim has let himself to be inspired by many different styles of music, including baroque, jazz and rock, and in 2007 took four years off the violin to study conducting. He took his first conducting classes from Professor Vag Papian, who himself studied with the legendary Ilya Musin in St Petersburg, and since 2009 takes regular advise with Maestro Juri Simonov, who comes from the German school of conducting, and is a great mentor to him. Maestro Vengerov has conducted the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra at the invitation of Valery Gergiev, and made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut during the 2007 Verbier Festival Orchestra tour of North America, to great critical acclaim. He has since conducted major orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow & Russian National Philharmonic, the Moscow Virtuosi, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bergen Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris with programs that feature works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. He was also chief conductor of the Gstaad Symphony Orchestra performing on tour in major European cities in 2010.
Maxim returned to the violin in 2011 and now divides his time equally between playing the violin, conducting and teaching – including termly classes at the Royal Academy of Music.
Next to his regular recital tours in Europe, Asia and South America, and his orchestra performances as soloist and/or conductor, his mini residences and Festivals are becoming more and more popular, combining his unique artistic versatility with workshops and teaching. They take the form of performing in recital, as conductor and soloist with orchestra – often also with young musicians – chamber music, Masterclasses and open rehearsal workshops. This is part of one of his endeavours to bring music to as wide and diverse an audience as possible, inspiring the next generation.
Highlights of the 2012/13 season include the opening of the Beijing Music Festival as soloist, concerts with the Toronto and Montreal Symphony Orchestra performing a concerto in the first half and conducting the magical tale of Sheherezade in the second, recitals and chamber music in Europe, US, South America and Asia, as well as performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Montreal SO, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra and concerts as conductor/soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall London and Avery Fisher Hall in New York. 2013 will also see the start of an annual Festival in Tokyo as well as in Gdanzk.
Teaching and encouraging young talent is a great passion of Maxim’s as he himself received great support from Mstislav Rostropovich and Daniel Barenboim since the age of 17. He has become the Ambassador and visiting Professor of the International Menuhin Academy (IMMA) in Switzerland and he has been Menuhin Professor at the Royal Academy of Music since January 2012. Maestro regularly serves on juries, such as the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition and the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition and he will appear in the Montreal Violin Competition in May 2013 as conductor and jury member.
As chairman of the prestigious Wieniawski competition in Poznan, Maxim has been auditioning over 200 musicians, travelling to 9 capitals of the world, selecting the finalists for last year’s competition in 2011. After this tremendous success, selecting the candidates from live auditions from all corners of the world, the Wieniawski competition has already re-elected him to become chairman in 2016.
In 1997, Maxim Vengerov became the first classical musician to be appointed Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF, which provided him with the unique opportunity to inspire children worldwide through music. In this role he performed for underprivileged children in Uganda, Thailand and the Balkans, and helped raise funds for many UNICEF assisted programs. Maxim is a patron of the MIGDAL Project in Northern Israel designed to give disadvantaged children a chance to learn how to play an instrument and to improvise in classical and ethnic styles, harnessing the healing power of music and promoting humanitarian and cultural values. He is also a patron of the MIAGI project in South Africa, which connects children of different ethnic backgrounds through music. Since 2007 Maestro has been an Ambassador for Zegna & Music project, which was founded by the luxury men’s clothing label Ermenegildo Zegna in 1997 as a philanthropic activity to promote classical music.
Maestro Vengerov has been profiled in a series of documentaries, including Playing by Heart, which was recorded by Channel Four Television and screened at the Cannes Television Festival in 1999, and Living the Dream, which was released worldwide and received the Gramophone Award for Best Documentary 2008. In September 2008 he was invited by the BBC to conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra and be a member of the jury in the ‘Maestro’ series.
Maxim now regularly records diverse repertoire, of which the release on the Wigmore Hall Live label this December marked his comeback to the violin.
Maxim Vengerov plays ex-Kreutzer Stradivari (1727).