Gidon Kremer
Kremer in 2008
Born (1947-02-27) 27 February 1947 (age 77)
OccupationClassical violinist

Gidon Kremer (Latvian: Gidons Krēmers; born 27 February 1947) is a Latvian classical violinist, artistic director, and founder of Kremerata Baltica.

Life and career

Gidon Kremer was born in Riga. His father was Jewish and had survived the Holocaust. His mother had German-Swedish origins.[1] His grandfather Karl Brückner [de] was a well-known musicologist and violinist in Riga. The boy began playing the violin at the age of four, receiving instruction from his father and his grandfather, who were both professional violinists. He went on to study at the Riga School of Music, where his teacher was mainly Voldemar Sturestep (Voldemārs Stūresteps). From 1965, Kremer studied with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1967, he won third prize at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels. In 1969, he won second prize at the Montreal International Violin Competition (shared with Oleh Krysa), followed by first prize at the Paganini Competition in Genoa, and finally first prize again in 1970 at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Kremer's first concert in the West was in Vienna's Musikverein in 1970, where he played with Thomas Schippers and the Vienna Philharmonic. He debuted in Germany at the festival Bachwoche Ansbach and in the Berlin Philharmonie in 1975 and in London under André Previn in 1976, followed by appearances at the Salzburg Festival in 1976 and in New York City and in Japan in 1977. In 1980, he left the USSR and settled in Germany. In 1981, Kremer founded a chamber music festival in Lockenhaus, Austria, with a focus on new and unconventional programming, serving as artistic director for 30 years until 2011.[2] In 1997, Kremer founded the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, composed of young players from the Baltic region.[1] He was also among the artistic directors of the festival "Art Projekt 92" in Munich and is director of the Musiksommer Gstaad festival (1996/97) and Basel ("les musiques") in Switzerland. In 2007–2008, he and Kremerata Baltica toured with the classical musical comedy duo Igudesman & Joo. He also made regular appearances at the Verbier Festival until the summer of 2011, when he publicly criticised the perceived 'star culture' aspect of the festival and withdrew from the festival.[3]

He has performed works by Astor Piazzolla (in the Hommage à Piazzolla recordings[4]), George Enescu, Alban Berg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Béla Bartók, Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke, Victor Kissine, Mieczysław Weinberg, Arthur Lourié and John Adams. He also performed works by Leonid Desyatnikov, Alexander Raskatov, Alexander Vustin, Lera Auerbach, Pēteris Vasks, Arvo Pärt, Victoria Poleva, Valentyn Sylvestrov, Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer. Among the many composers who have dedicated works to him are Sofia Gubaidulina (Offertorium) and Luigi Nono (La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura), Alfred Schnittke, Giya Kancheli, Victor Kissine.

His partners in performance include Valery Afanassiev, Martha Argerich,[5] Mikhail Pletnev, Oleg Maisenberg, Vadim Sakharov, Mischa Maisky, Yo-Yo Ma, Clemens Hagen, Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė, Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Thomas Zehetmair, Tatiana Grindenko and Per Arne Glorvigen.

He has a large discography on the Deutsche Grammophon label, for which he has recorded since 1978. He has also recorded for Philips Records, EMI, Decca Records, ECM[6] and Nonesuch Records. Celebrating the 70th birthday (27 February 2017) of Gidon Kremer, on 14 October 2016 Deutsche Grammophon released an original jackets box set "GIDON KREMER Complete Concerto Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon".[7] ECM Records marked the occasion with a new album of all Mieczysław Weinberg's chamber symphonies,[8] released in January 2017, recorded together with Kremerata Baltica.

In other media, Kremer played the role of Paganini in Peter Schamoni's 1983 film Frühlingssinfonie ("Spring Symphony") and was the music director of the film Le joueur de violon by Charles Van Damme.[9]

Kremer is the author of four books on music, including Fragments of Childhood (Kindheitsplitter) and Letters to a Young Pianist (2013).

Honours and awards


  1. ^ a b Charlotte Higgins (22 November 2000). "Perfect isn't good enough". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
  2. ^ "Lockenhaus: Gidon Kremer zieht sich zurück". Der Standard. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  3. ^ Jeremy Eichler (12 October 2011). "Having denounced star system, Gidon Kremer comes to Longy". Boston Globe. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  4. ^ Andrew Clements (6 December 2012). "Hommage à Piazzolla – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  5. ^ Andrew Clements (24 April 2009). "Schumann: Violin Sonata No 2; Kinderszenen; Bartók: Solo Violin Sonata; Violina Sonata No 1; etc: Kremer/Argerich". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  6. ^ Andrew Clements (20 February 2014). "Weinberg: Sonata No 3; Trio; Sonatina; Concertino; Symphony No 10 – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  7. ^ "KREMER Complete Concerto Recordings – 22 CDS – Buy Now". Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Gidon Kremer – Le Joueur De Violon (Bande Originale Du Film)". Discogs.
  10. ^ "Pour le Mérite: Gidon Kremer" (PDF). 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 August 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Violinist Krēmers receives Japan's prestigious art prize". 19 October 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  12. ^ 57th Annual Grammy Awards
  13. ^ "SAECULUM 2007 wird an Gidon Kremer verliehen – neue musikzeitung". nmz (in German). June 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  14. ^ 44th Annual Grammy Awards
  15. ^ "ECHO Klassik | HOME". Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Prize laureates 1975 – 2004". International Music Council.
  17. ^ "Ar Triju Zvaigžņu ordeni apbalvoto personu reģistrs" (in Latvian). Chancery of the Latvian president. Archived from the original (doc) on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Gidon Kremer (Violin, Conductor) – Short Biography". Retrieved 22 April 2020.