[ Viola ]
Atar Arad was born in Tel Aviv, where he began his early musical education and violin studies. In 1968 he was one of a few young artists to be selected to study in the renowned Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth under the patronage of the Queen of Belgium.
In 1971, drawn by the deep, warm sound of the viola and its broad but unfamiliar repertoire, he decided to devote himself to this instrument and its music. The following year, in July 1972, in his first appearance as a violist, he won the City of London Prize as a laureate of the Carl Flesch Competition for violin and viola. Two months later he was awarded the First Prize at the International Viola Competition in Geneva by a unanimous decision of the jury.
Numerous concerts followed — as soloist with major orchestras, and in recitals at some of Europe’s most prestigious festivals. Arad’s recordings for Telefunken are widely acclaimed. His Sonata per la Grand’ Viola e Orchestra by Paganini was considered by stringed-instrument lovers and critics alike to be an astonishing demonstration of the technical capabilities of the viola. His album in collaboration with pianist Evelyne Brancart, was praised by High Fidelity magazine as being “…perhaps the best-played viola recital ever recorded”.
In 1980 Arad moved from London to the US in order to become a member of the Cleveland Quartet for the next seven years. With this great Quartet he toured throughout the US, South America, Europe, Israel and Japan, collaborating with many leading musicians (including Menahem Pressler,Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma,Mstislav Rostropovich, James Gallway, and Richard Stolzmann). With the Quartet he recorded for labels such as RCA, CBS and Telarc, and appeared at music festivals including Aspen, Berlin, Edinburgh, Flanders, Israel, Paris, Salzburg, and many more. During that time he held the position of a Professor of Viola at the Eastman School of Music.
Arad also taught at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, TX, and was an artist/lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.He currently serves as Professor of Music (viola) at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, and in the summers he teaches at the Steans Music Institute (Ravinia Festival, Chicago), Domaine Forget Academy of the Art (Canada), Heifetz Institute (Virginia) and at the Keshet Eilon Music Center (Isreal).
After leaving the Quartet Arad served as a regular guest artist in a great number of musical venues, such as Houston’s Da Camera Society, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Upper Galilee Chamber Music Days (Israel), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (CT), Chamber Music International(TX), Ravinia Music Festival (IL) and Banff (Canada) among many others. A frequent guest with today’s leading chamber ensembles, Arad has performed, with the Guarneri, Emersson, Tokyo, Mendelssohn, American, Chillingrian, Vermeer, New Zealand, Orion, and more recently with Pacifica and Verona string quartets.
A late-bloomer composer, Arad wrote his first musical composition – a Solo Sonata for Viola in 1992. In 2013 Arad Completed a set of Twelve Caprices, the first six of which he performed at the 2004 Viola Congress in Minnesota along with the rarely played Tibor Serly’s Viola Concerto. Later, in 2015-16, he toured extensively with the set as a whole in Tel Aviv, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Berlin, Frankfurt, Detmold, Hamburg, Paris, Madrid, Porto, London, Manchester and Birmingham. The Twelve Caprices along with his Tikvah are now published by Hofmeister Musikverlag, Leipzig, and can be heard on iTunes and CD Baby.
Atar Arad plays on a viola by Niccolo Amati (the ‘Arad’) and uses a set of PI strings, made by Thomastik.