„This piano has everything a pianist wishes for - clarity, range and a unique singing tone!"“

Saleem Ashkar about Bechstein


Palestinian-Israeli pianist Saleem Ashkar was born 1976 in Nazareth and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the University of Music in Hanover. Saleem Ashkar often performs as guest of the most important orchestras in Israel, especially the Israel Philharmonic and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. At the age of 22, he debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York. Among the conductors with whom he regularly plays are Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Lawrence Foster, Zubin Mehta and Sebastian Weigle. In Mozart year 2006, he was heard at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonica under Riccardo Muti. Further engagements have led Saleem Abboud Ashkar to the well-known Norway Risør-Festival, Ravinia with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, France to the Menton Festival, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, Ashkar performed for the first time with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. In the 2008/09 season he played a concert again with the Gewandhausorchestra by invitation from Riccardo Chailly. A celebrated anthem-like recital CD was published in 2005 by EMI Classics.

A dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, Saleem’s recent focus has been a complete Beethoven Sonata Cycle - which he recently completed at the Konzerthaus Berlin, in Prague, his home country of Israel and Duisberg. He has appeared in series at venues including the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Mozarteum Salzburg, Musikverein Vienna, Conservatorio Guiseppe Verdi Milan, Florence. Further ahead, he performs a wide range of recital repertoire, including Debussy and Messiaen at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and Beethoven, Brahms and Schoenberg at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. He makes his International Piano Series debut at the Southbank Centre in spring 2020.

Saleem records frequently for Decca: in the last two years he has released two recordings of Beethoven Piano Sonatas (coinciding with his complete cycle), and previously he has released both of Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertos with the Gewandhausorchester with Chailly and Beethoven’s First and Fourth Piano Concertos with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester with Ivor Bolton.

"Many thanks to a grand piano with such a rich tone and quick-reaction attack," Ashkar wrote after a concert in Berlin about the C. Bechstein concert grand piano.

photo © Peter Rigaud, Liudmila Jeremies, Thorben Garlin

First part of Saleem Ashkar’s Beethoven cycle released on the Decca label

First part of Saleem Ashkar’s Beethoven cycle released on the Decca label

The long-established Decca label recently released the first double CD in the Beethoven cycle with piano sonatas interpreted by Saleem Ashkar. It includes the Sonatas op. 2 Nr. 3, op. 10 Nr. 1, op. 27 Nr. 2 and op. 109, recorded on a C. Bechstein D 282 concert grand at the Berlin-Britz manor. Critics praised Ashkar’s brilliant, powerful and self-confident play, confirming once again the artist’s rank among the best interpreters of works by the German composer.

Saleem Ashkar plans to finish the recording of the complete set of sonatas by Beethoven in 2020, the year when the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death is celebrated.

Saleem Ashkar at the Konzerthaus Berlin

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