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Ilya Kaler


Russian-born Ilya Kaler’s musical family encouraged him in his violin studies at an early age, his initial training being with Zinaida Gilels at the Moscow Conservatory’s Central Music School for Gifted Children. As did Sergey Stadler (his almost exact contemporary), Kaler took instruction from Leonid Kogan and Viktor Tretyakov at the conservatory, graduating with the Gold Medal Award. He also studied privately with Abram Shtern. One of his distinctions is to be the first violinist to win gold medals at the Paganini, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky Competitions.

His Paganini Caprices—his first recording for Naxos in 1992—were, according to the American Record Guide, ‘in a class by themselves’, combining ‘the perfection, passion, and phrase sculpting of Michael Rabin with the energy, excitement, and immediacy of Jascha Heifetz’. As might be expected, Kaler has performed with numerous world-class orchestras in Russia, Europe, America and Japan and has given solo recitals around the globe.

As a chamber musician, he has appeared at music festivals throughout the US and Europe. In the orchestral realm he has made guest-concertmaster appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and New York’s Rochester Philharmonic, as well as touring with the World Orchestra for Peace. Kaler has also held professorships at the Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington; the Eastman School of Music, Rochester; and the DePaul University School of Music, Chicago.

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