The Madison Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to welcome Gil Shaham back to Overture Hall for our March 11, 12, and 13, 2022 concerts, Gil Shaham Plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Mr. Shaham joined the Madison Symphony Orchestra in January 2018 for Gil Shaham plays Tchaikovsky. Read the reviews from Gil Shaham’s 2018 appearance in Madison to discover why you won’t want to miss his performance this March.  — plus, learn more and buy tickets for Gil Shaham Plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Mar. 11-13!

John Barker / The Isthmus: “Violin virtuosity: Gil Shaham guests with Madison Symphony Orchestra in program of Russian composers”

“John DeMain has long sought the celebrated violinist Gil Shaham as a guest soloist, and he arrived at last to make a great show out of Tchaikovsky’s extravagant Violin Concerto. To his credit, Shaham leavens his unquestionable virtuosity with restraint and even delicacy when these matter. He and DeMain particularly relish the lyrical episodes in the raucous finale. Throughout, however, Shaham’s physical gyrations are unconventional, to say the least. He lurches about, often playing to the conductor or even the orchestra instead of the audience. His facial grimaces express his delight in the music, even suggesting surprise at what he has just played. This certainly does indicate his deep involvement in the music — to be part of it, rather than on top of it. It is a performance as much of personality as of playing.”

“On Friday, the audience adored it, giving him a standing ovation after the first movement alone, as well as at the conclusion. His (inaudibly announced) encore then was the familiar “Preludio” from Bach’s Partita No. 3 for unaccompanied violin.”

“He is one soloist whom MSO audiences will not soon forget.”

Read the review on the Isthmus’s website


Bill Wineke / Channel 3000: “Review: MSO turns in an incredible performance”

“Violinist Gil Shaham is the featured soloist in the weekend Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts, and his performance Friday night was simply the best I have seen in more than three decades of attending the symphony.”

“I’m not alone. Richard Mackie, executive director of the symphony, said it’s the best performance ‘I’ve experienced in 40 years of listening to symphonies.’”

“How good was Shaham?

Well, after the first movement of Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra,” the audience gave him a prolonged standing ovation.”

“The concerto is so difficult that, according to Michael Allsen, who wrote the program notes, when Tchaikovsky composed the work in 1878, he had a hard time finding any major musician to perform it because it was so difficult the luminaries of his time pronounced it “unplayable.”

To watch Shaham’s fingers race along the fingerboard as he played the piece is to understand some of what they meant.”

“And, finally, he brought out the best in Overture Hall. This theater is designed for good acoustics and it brought out the best in Shaham’s performance.”

Read the review on Channel 3000’s website


Jessica Courtier / Cap Times: “Gil Shaham makes familiar Tchaikovsky sound fresh with MSO”

“Waiting for the Madison Symphony Orchestra to begin, he holds a wide, open-mouthed smile. When he plays, his expression shifts to intense concentration and he moves his entire body in tandem with the music: crouching, lifting, addressing the violins, making eye contact with the conductor.

This is an enchanting spectacle to witness. To see — and more importantly hear — such an accomplished musician bring both newness and wisdom to familiar material is truly a gift. Indeed, none of this would matter if Shaham did not play with such grace and character.”

“Shaham played with incredible lightness, skimming over the strings, reaching for the highest of high notes, fingers rippling through lightning fast passagework.”

“Shaham’s interpretation is filled with his apparent musical delight. It is broad and accessible but never clichéd.”

Read the review on the Cap Time’s website


NBC15: “Madison Symphony Orchestra presents Violinist Gil Shaham”

“MSO Music Director John DeMain shares his passion for this program. ‘Our January concerts feature a number of significant firsts. Most important is the Madison Symphony debut of one of the world’s premier violinists, Gil Shaham. We have sought out Mr. Shaham for many seasons, and we are thrilled his international schedule aligned with ours this year.’”

“Declared “‘he outstanding American violinist of his generation’ by Time magazine, Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time: his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America’s ‘Instrumentalist of the Year,’ 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.”

Read the full article

What Concert Attendees Had to Say…

Impeccable playing by Gil Shaham, with great support from the orchestra.

This was one of the most Spectacular concert experiences of my life. I, along with nearly every other audience member, was compelled to my feet at the conclusion of the first movement in response to the performance we witnessed by Mr. Shaham and the MSO. I have never witnessed anything like what Mr. Shaham did and it was astounding and amazing and magical.

Gil Shaham was AMAZING in his performance! My son and I were awed by his talent!

Gil Shaham was fabulous, and he seemed so enthusiastic about performing. This was the best performance and overall concert that I’ve seen of the MSO since I moved to Madison in 2015.

The artistry and enthusiasm of the soloist. He was a joy to listen to and to watch.

The performance by Gil Shaman was the most moving I have ever experienced. Actually the entire audience leaped to its feet and applauded after the first movement. I was moved to tears.

Mr. Shaham’s cadenza was mind-blowing.

Gil Shaham was FABULOUS!!! His performance left me breathless and unable to find adequate superlatives for his musical ability.

Mr. Shaham’s connection with the orchestra, the audience and of course his virtuosity! His enthusiasm was infectious and he made us feel that he really enjoyed performing for us and the rest of the audience.

It was the most wonderful violin performance I have ever heard. It was magical, amazing and took my breath away.

The entire concert was delightful! Gil Shaham radiated joy and enthusiasm as he produced magical notes on his violin. John DeMain was energized and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy performing! The orchestra interacted well and rose to the occasion.

Gil Shaham’s playing, musicianship, his commitment to the piece, and the excitement he generated by approaching it as if it were the first time! A life changing performance!

Without a doubt the highlight of the evening was Gil Shaham’s performance. Not only is he an excellent violinist with a superb instrument, his personality is enchanting. I found myself smiling throughout everything he played.

Absolutely incredible performance! I have never been at a performance where the audience was so blown away that they insisted on applause/standing ovation after first movement of a concerto.

The music as always was lovely, but I particularly enjoyed Gil Shaham’s warmth, humility, and appreciation of the other musicians.

Mr Shaham was incredible! Such style, feeling, technique! Most enjoyable to hear and see. This was an experience of a lifetime. Thank you!

Mr. Shaham’s brilliant technique and ebullient spirit made a familiar work new again. The orchestra played very well all evening, matching Mr. Shaham’s dynamic energy and also doing a great job on the Prokofiev.

I cannot imagine ever hearing a violin as perfectly played as that. Powerful, precise, musical. Shaham has it all, and I’m glad for the musicians they had a chance to work with this marvel. It was made even better by the collaboration on display: Shaham is not just a traveling star, but a human being.

Photos from Gil Shaham’s 2018 Performances at Overture Hall