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’smost 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 U.S. in order to become a member of the Cleveland Quartet for the next seven years. With this great Quartet he toured throughout the U.S., South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Israel and Japan, collaborating with many leading musicians (such as pianists Istomin, Curzon, Ax, Dichter and Kovacevich, violists Schidloff and Laredo, Cellists Ma and Rostropovich, flutists Gallway and Rampal, and clarinetist Stolzmann to name but a few), recording for labels such as RCA, CBS and Telarc, and appearing in music festivals including Aspen, Berlin, Edinburgh, Flanders, Israel, New York Mostly Mozart and Carnegie Hall, Paris, Salzburg, and many more. During that time he held the position of a Professor of Viola at the Eastman School of Music.
Arad was an artist/faculty member at the Aspen School and Festival. He also taught at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, TX, and served as an artist/lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He currently teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington, and at the Steans Institute (Ravinia Festival) in Chicago.
Arad appeared as a regular guest artist with Houston’s Da Camera Society, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Upper Galilee Chamber Music Days (Israel), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival , Chamber Music Intenational in Dallas, Sitka Festival, Chautauqua Festival and Ravinia Music Festival.
Arad has published two important essays; The Thirteen Pages (The American String Teacher, Winter 1988) dealing with the authenticity of Bartok’s Viola Concerto and Walton As Scapino (The Strad, February 1989), which reveals a number of unusual compositional procedures used by William Walton in his Viola Concerto.
In 1992 he wrote his first musical composition – a Solo Sonata for Viola. The Sonata was premiered by him in 1993 as part of Arad’s recital at the Viola Congress in Chicago and was published by the Israel Music Institute (1995). Violist Roland Glassl, the winner of 1997 Tertis International Competition gave the London premier of the Sonata in 1998 at the Wigmore Hall.
In 1998 Arad completed his String Quartet which was premiered in Bloomington on April 1999 by the Corigliano Quartet. The Herald Times greatly appreciated the piece, concluding its review by stating: Here is an assured composition, one that deserves life off the shelves and in concerts halls. It doesn1t make for easy listening, but it prompts involvement and invites praise.
A frequent guest with today’s leading String Quartets and musicians, Arad has performed with the Guarneri, Emersson, Tokyo, Mendelssohn, American, Chillingrian, Vermeer, Corigliano and New Zealand String Quartets as well as violinists such as Zuckermann, Fried, Bell and Weilerstein, violists Strongin-Katz, Tree and Biss, cellists Starker, Geringas, Hoffman, Katz and Edy, pianists Eschenbach, Frank, Pressler, Hokanson, Kalisch, and Brancart. Recent performances as a soloist include the Louisville Orchestra with conductor Segal, the Xalapa Orchestra with conductor Effron, The Brazil Symphony with conductor Batiz. . He also performed with the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra at the closing concert of the Viola Congress in Wellington, and gave the Mexican premier of the Schnittke viola Concerto with conductor Zollman, under whose baton he also performed with Haifa Simphony along with violinist Hagai Shaham.
In August of 2003, Arad premiered his new three Caprices for Viola, as a part of his recital at the Tertis International Competition and Workshop, where he also gave a master class and served as a judge. He also judged the 2004 Munich International Competition.
Information about music and recordings of Atar Arad music:
Solo Sonata for Viola Solo
Six Caprices for Viola
Concerto per la Viola
can be obtained at AtarArad.com and RIAX.com or by contacting the composer directly via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).