Of all the world’s leading violinists, Gidon Kremer has perhaps had the most unconventional career. Born in Riga, Latvia, he began studying at the age of four with his father and grandfather, who were both distinguished string players. At the age of seven, he entered Riga Music School. At sixteen he was awarded the first Prize of the Latvian Republic and two years later he began his studies with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory. He went on to win prestigious awards including the 1967 Queen Elizabeth Competition and the first prize in both Paganini and Tchaikovsky International Competitions.
This success launched Gidon Kremer’s distinguished career, in the course of which he has established a worldwide reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation. He has appeared on virtually every major concert stage with the most celebrated orchestras of Europe and America and he has collaborated with today’s foremost conductors.
Gidon Kremer’s repertoire is unusually extensive, encompassing all of the standard classical and romantic violin works, as well as music by twentieth- and twenty-first century masters such as Henze, Berg and Stockhausen. He also championed the works of living Russian and Eastern European composers and has performed many important new compositions; several of them dedicated to him. He has become associated with such diverse composers as Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Sofia Gubaidulina, Valentin Silvestrov, Luigi Nono, Aribert Reimann, Peteris Vasks, John Adams, Victor Kissine, Michael Nyman, Philipp Glass, Leonid Desyatnikov, and Astor Piazzolla, bringing their music to audiences in a way that respects tradition yet remains contemporary. It would be fair to say that no other soloist of his international stature has done as much for contemporary composers in the past 30 years.
An exceptionally prolific recording artist, Gidon Kremer has made more than 120 albums, many of which brought him prestigious international awards and prizes in recognition of his exceptional interpretative powers. These include the "Grand prix du Disque", "Deutscher Schallplattenpreis", the "Ernst-von-Siemens Musikpreis", the "Bundesverdienstkreuz", the "Premio dell‘ Accademia Musicale Chigiana", the "Triumph Prize 2000” (Moscow), the "Unesco Prize” in 2001, the Saeculum-Glashütte Original-Musikfestspielpreis Dresden in 2007 and in 2008 the Rolf-Schock Prize in 2008, Stockholm, "life achievement" prize of the Istanbul Music festival in 2010, and "Una Vita Nella Musica - Artur Rubinstein" Prize (Venice) in 2011 which is considered to be the "Nobel Prize" of music, among many others.
In February 2002 he and the Kremerata Baltica were awarded with the Grammy for the Nonesuch recording “After Mozart” in the category “Best small Ensemble Performance”. The same recording received an ECHO prize in Germany in the fall of 2002.
The EMI Classics CD "The Berlin Recital" with Martha Argerich and works by Schumann and Bartók has been recently released as well as an album with all violin concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a live recording with the label Nonesuch, recorded with Kremerata Baltica at Salzburg Festival 2006. One of his latest CDs "De Profundis" was published in September 2010 with Nonesuch. Gidon Kremer actively collaborates with the ECM label as well, which released his last recording of all J. S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas. Other most recent releases are “The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould”, “Hommage à Piazzolla: The Complete Astor Piazzolla Recordings” CD set and a CD set of Lockenhaus live recordings celebrating the 30 years of this unique festival, G. Kremer concluded in 2011. His newest CD “Mieczysław Weinberg” was released in January 2014. It was recorded with Kremerata Baltica and soloists at Neuhardenberg and Lockenhaus in 2012 and 2013, and makes a strong case for Shostakovich’s assertion that Weinberg was one of the great composers of his era.
In 1997, he founded the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra to foster outstanding young musicians from the three Baltic States. Since then, Mo. Kremer has been touring extensively with the orchestra appearing at world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls. He has also recorded almost 25 CD’s with the orchestra for Teldec, Nonesuch, DGG, and ECM. (From 2002 - 2006 Gidon Kremer was the artistic leader of the new festival "Les muséiques" in Basel (Switzerland)).
Gidon Kremer plays a Nicola Amati, dated from 1641. He is also the author of four books, (latest one "Letters to a young pianist") translated into many languages, which reflect his artistic pursuits.