Where we were once content simply to marvel at the pyrotechnics, now, because of Gringolts’ acute sense of timing and close attention to dynamics, we hear the music.
The Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts wins over audiences with his extremely virtuosic playing and sensitive interpretations, and is always looking for new musical challenges. As a sought-after soloist, he devotes himself to the great orchestral repertoire but also to contemporary and seldom-played works. He has premiered compositions by Peter Maxwell Davies, Augusta Read Thomas, Christophe Bertrand and Michael Jarrell. In addition, he is interested in historical performance practice: most recently he could be seen in a play-conduct role performing Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in its original key with the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, and was invited as soloist with the Oxford Philharmonia.
Ilya Gringolts has performed with leading orchestras around the world such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, NHK Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Sao Paulo State Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra and both orchestras of Southwest German Radio. Recent highlights included projects with the Bamberg Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Copenhagen Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Symphony. In 2016–17, highlights include his debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony with Ligeti’s Violin Concerto and a tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of his former teacher Itzhak Perlman.
He is also the first violinist of the Gringolts Quartet, which he founded in 2008 and which enjoys great success with performances at the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Teatro La Fenice in Venice, among others. As a keen chamber musician, Ilya Gringolts collaborates with artists such as Yuri Bashmet, David Kadouch, Itamar Golan, Peter Laul, Aleksandar Madzar, Nicolas Altstaedt, Andreas Ottensamer, Antoine Tamestit and Jörg Widmann, and is a regular guest at the festivals in Lucerne, Kuhmo, Verbier, Colmar and Bucharest (Enescu Festival), as well as at Wigmore Hall, the Serate Musicali in Milan and St. Petersburg Philharmonia.
Following numerous critically praised recordings on the Deutsche Grammophon, BIS and Hyperion labels, Ilya Gringolts devoted himself to the chamber music of Robert Schumann from 2010 to 2011, releasing three CDs on Onyx. In 2013–14 his recording of Paganini’s 24 Caprices for solo violin on Orchid Classics received many outstanding reviews, and in the orchestral realm, he caught audiences’ and critics’ attention in spring 2015 with his recording of Mieczysław Weinberg’s Violin Concerto with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
After studying violin and composition in St. Petersburg with Tatiana Liberova and Jeanna Metallidi, he attended the Juilliard School of Music where he studied with Itzhak Perlman. In 1998 he won the International Violin Competition Premio Paganini, as the youngest first prize winner in the history of the competition.
As well as his position as violin professor at the Zurich Academy of the Arts, he is also a Violin International Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Ilya Gringolts plays a Giuseppe Guarneri "del Gesù" violin, Cremona 1742–43, on loan from a private collection.