Since 1988 Jacques Israelievitch has been the Concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and has appeared regularly with the orchestra as soloist and conductor. He has performed throughout Canada and has been featured often on the CBC. Mr. Israelievitch also plays, teaches and conducts regularly in the U.S.A., Europe and the Far East. Over the past ten years, Mr. Israelievitch has made numerous visits to Japan to play, teach and conduct.
Born in Cannes, Israelievitch performed on French National Radio at the age of eleven and graduated from the Paris Conservatory at the young age of sixteen. His principal violin teachers were Henryk Szeryng and Josef Gingold. He later on served as assistant to Mr. Gingold at Indiana University. Israelievitch studied chamber music under Janos Starker and William Primrose.
In 1972, Georg Solti appointed him assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Just twenty-three at the time, he was the Orchestra's youngest musician. After six seasons in Chicago, where he founded the Chicago Pops Orchestra and acted as music director of the Chicago Chamber Music Players, he joined the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra where he served as concertmaster for ten years.
In addition to Toronto Symphony Orchestra activities, Mr. Israelievitch is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician. He has collaborated with Solti, Carlo Maria Giulini, Raymond Leppard and Leonard Slatkin among many others. His concerto repertoire includes all of the standard works, in addition to The Darkly Splendid Earth: The Lonely Traveller, by R. Murray Schafer commissioned for him by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1991.
Mr. Israelievitch has played chamber music with such distinguished artists as Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman and Yo-Yo Ma. A champion of contemporary music, he has premiered and/or recorded pieces by numerous composers, including Michael Colgrass, Samuel Adler, Jeffrey Ryan, Raymond Luedeke, Murray Adaskin and Alain Weber. He has recently formed a duo with his son Michael, a percussionist, and the two are building a rich repertoire of pieces written for them.
Israelievitch is a member of the New Arts Trio, a 26-year-old chamber group that has been trio-in-residence at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State since 1978. During the seven-week Chautauqua summer festival, he teaches an international class of violinists and coaches chamber music groups. During the summer of 2004, his fifth year at Chatauqua, Mr. Israelievitch performed the Bruch Concerto No.2 with the Chautauqua Symphony.
Mr. Israelievitch's discography includes the Juno-nominated Suite Hebraique, Bruch's Second Concerto in D Minor, and the recent releases Suite Francaise, Suite Enfantine, Suite Fantaisie and Solo Suite.
He was awarded a knighthood by the French government in 1995,in the order of Arts and Letters. In 2004 he was promoted to the honorable status of Officer.
In June 2004 Mr. Israelievitch premiered the Concerto for Percussion and Violin written by Lawrence Rosenthal for him and Michael. It was first performed in La Jolla, California and then in San Diego.
A recent residency in Montreal included master classes at the Conservatoire National de Musique and McGill University.
In June 2004 Mr. Israelievitch performed the Jeffrey Ryan concerto with the Vancouver Symphony under the direction of Bramwell Tovey. This concerto was also commissioned for Jacques and premiered by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.