Arts & Culture

Premier Violinist Gil Shaham Joins UK Orchestra for Singletary Signature Series Opening Concert

Watch above clips of Shaham's performances of work from his CD "1930s Violin Concertos, Vol. 2."

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 23, 2019) — As part of its 40th anniversary, University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts welcomes back world-renowned violinist Gil Shaham to open the 2019-20 Singletary Signature Series. The concert featuring Shaham, accompanied by the UK Symphony Orchestra, will begin 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the Singletary Center Concert Hall.

One of the foremost violinists of our time, Shaham's flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. He is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world's great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.

Highlights of recent years include a recording and performances of Johann Sebastian Bach's complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin and recitals with his longtime duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi. He regularly appears with the Berlin Philharmonic; Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies; the Israel Philharmonic; Los Angeles Philharmonic; New York Philharmonic; Orchestre de Paris; and in multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore.

Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or and Gramophone Editor's Choice. His most recent recording in the series "1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2" was nominated for a Grammy Award. Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008, received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by Musical America. He plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius. 

Founded in 1918, the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is a 100-member all-student orchestra performing under the leadership of Conductor and Artistic Director John Nardolillo. The group is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States, Asia, South America and Europe. The orchestra has performed with world-renowned concert artists including Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, Sarah Chang, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, Denyce Graves, Christine Brewer, Pink Martini, Ronan Tynan, Mark O'Connor, Wynonna Judd, Keith Lockhart and Arlo Guthrie. The orchestra has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., toured the state of Kentucky regularly, and toured China, playing concerts in major concert halls in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Yangzhou and Beijing. The orchestra's performance at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts was broadcast on China Central Television, a network reaching more than 1.5 billion viewers. 

Shaham's concert with UK Symphony Orchestra will include Giuseppe Verdi's overture to "La Forza del Destino," Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.

General tickets for Gil Shaham’s concert are $46-$36 based on seating location. UK faculty, staff and student tickets are $20 with UK ID. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 859-257-4929 or in person at the Singletary Center ticket office. 

A part of the College of Fine Arts and essential to the UK School of Music, the Singletary Center for the Arts presents and hosts artistic, cultural and educational events for the university community, Lexington community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Named on April 16, 1987, for the retiring eighth president of the university, the center has become a major cultural resource for the Commonwealth. From its opening on Nov. 1, 1979, the center has accomplished Singletary's wish to provide a succession of brilliant performances in its Concert and Recital Halls, which constitute impressive evidence of the University of Kentucky's continuing commitment to the arts. Hosting an average of 400 events annually, the Singletary Center has served over 3.7 million patrons in its history. The center provides professional, full-service venues for the creation, practical application, and dissemination of artistic, cultural and educational expressions by international, national, regional, university, and student performers, artists, and speakers.

photo of Gil Shaham with violin
Gil Shaham