David Garrett

“You have to be a world-class violinist in order to record a good crossover CD.” (David Garrett)

“Only those artists can afford to do crossover who have already made a name for themselves in the classical music scene.” David Garrett sets high quality standards. And he knows what he is talking about. In Fall 2007 the recording artist made his appearance in Germany with the release of his crossover album Virtuoso and he has been redefining standards in the classic and crossover scene step by step ever since. The native of Aachen, son of a German jurist and an American prima ballerina, can allow himself to sound out the limits. After all, at age 32, he already looks back on a matchless career.

He gets his first violin at age four and makes his first appearance with the Hamburg Philharmonics at the early age of ten. At age thirteen he is the youngest artist to be awarded an exclusive contract with the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. In 1999, at the height of his career, the shooting star redirects his energy, deciding to leave his predetermined path as a classical violinist and move to New York – not to take a time-out but rather to place his musical proficiency on a theoretical foundation and perfect his technique. He enrolls at the prestigious Julliard School, studying musicology and composition.

Instruction with Itzhak Perlmann lends his performance completely new facets. David Garrett’s particular enthusiasm for studying composition earns him a distinction in 2003 when he wins the renowned Composition Competition of Julliard School with a fugue composed in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach. In doing so, he lays the foundation for what have become legendary arrangements. His highly esteemed American composition teacher Eric Ewazen has said of him “As a violinist, his spectacular, heartfelt and expressive playing already dazzled – even when he was a student – those of us who had the great pleasure of teaching him, and we recognized his extraordinary gifts and his amazing talent.”

Since completing his studies, the visionary violinist has committed himself to a clearly defined goal – introducing young people to the classics and kindling enthusiasm for reputedly serious music. Combining classical elements with those of pop and rock as well as rhythm and blues is a means to this end. “Regarding the crossover pieces I arrange, I strive to attain a level of performance at least equal to that expected of classical works. When another violinist looks at one of my scores he must say “The violin part is damned good. It is so difficult I’d have to practice it for hours before being able to play it.” Concerning his ambitions, David Garrett puts it succinctly. “You have to be a world-class violinist in order to record a good crossover CD. This poses an even greater challenge than classical music does because you want to present things to your listeners in a completely new light while putting on a superb violinist’s performance. The great virtuosos from Paganini to Heifetz did just that. Anything else would be merely mindless commercialism.”

Whereas many conservative contemporaries wonder whether uncompromising excellence and popularity, art and commerce can or may even be reconciled, David Garrett long ago proved that it is possible, enthralling listeners of all ages. The same new, incredibly electrifying spirit pervades lofty philharmonic halls holding sold-out classical concerts and open-air arenas staging crossover programs. The people sense that they are being taken seriously, that a person is performing who approaches the task with utmost discipline while creating an awareness for various musical genres and styles. Garrett’s desire to diminish the awe of classical music felt by young audiences in particular, to spark a whirlwind in the music scene while striving to sweep as many people off their feet as he possibly can is fulfilled to an overwhelming degree.

David Garrett is not only a technically brilliant recording artist who has received the praise and support of such eminent violin virtuosos as Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin and in particular Ida Haendel. His greatness is also reflected in his mental countenance. As one of the few classically versed artists he has an undistorted perspective on tradition and modernity. Thinking in terms of fixed categories is foreign to him. “In my eye, the Paganinis, Liszts and Chopins of the 19th century were the world’s first rock stars,” he says. Garrett knows the secrets of great music and understands that the more substance a work has, the more possibilities an artist has to make it his own and place it in new contexts. “Bach arranged Vivaldi and Mozart arranged Turkish marches. Beethoven wanted to enchant the masses too, employing musical means to this end. Great composers have always incorporated elements which were popular in their day and there is nothing reprehensible about that. On the contrary.”

Thus his musical expertise inspired him to interlace Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal with Mozart’s Turkish March – and he did so before Michael Jackson’s death, before the world paid tribute to this exceptional talent. David Garrett sets trends of his own because he is also ahead of his time. And yet he knows that talent and a command of one’s instrument do not suffice alone if one is to intellectually and spiritually penetrate a work and gain a grasp of it. A background knowledge of music theory enables the well-traveled artist to analyze and scrutinize scores. “Many great works are unbelievably rich in diverse possibilities. A certain passage in Mozart’s Turkish March and one in Smooth Criminal have almost the same harmonic progression. This goes to show that apart from instrumentalization, music has hardly changed at all over the past 250 years. We continue to work with the same material.”

Only this mixture of perfectionism and openness, thoroughgoingness and foresight explain the overwhelming success which David Garrett has had since the release of Virtuoso. With this recording the artist presented the public with his vision of how various musical styles can be creatively fused on a high artistic level without compromising musical standards. The succession of his own compositions interspersed with arrangements of classical pieces ranging from the virtuoso “Paganini Rhapsody,” based on Caprice No. 24 by Niccolò Paganini, to the emotionally intense rock classic “Nothing Else Matters” by “Metallica” stunned the music world. Advocates and critics sparked off a dialogue about musical orientations which has rekindled and refocused interest in how music communicates itself.

The artist was rewarded with an ECHO Classic 2008 in the category “Classic without Borders.” The “Encore” followed fast on this first success in October 2008, even surpassing the former release as a follow-up album. In the USA, “David Garrett” stayed number one in the classical and classical crossover charts for months.

With the album “Classic Romance”, released in November 2009, the violin virtuoso returned to classic turf. He created a special, very personal CD centering around Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, accompanied by seven small works from the Classic and Romantic periods. “Classic Romance” had an enormous resonance, winning Garrett the ECHO Classic 2010 in the category “Bestseller of the Year”. “Classical music is where my heart lies and I am elated that I succeed in bringing my message across to the audience.”

In June 2010 all previous musical activities of the star violinist culminated in a further exciting challenge: Rock Symphonies. At the legendary concert at Park Wuhlheide in Berlin, David Garrett delivered an unprecedentedly individual “musical address” to his multi-generational audience. Classics from all epochs – from the Baroque Age to modern times, from Bach to Nirvana – are presented in a newly arranged symphonic idiom. Once again his courage to embrace new things was rewarded.

In 2011 he received no less than two ECHO awards for his “Rock Symphonies”. The DVD “David Garrett: Rock Symphonies – Open Air Live” was distinguished in the category “Best Domestic DVD Production” and as “Best Artist” in the category “Rock/Pop Domestic”. “To date,” Garrett says, “‘Rock Symphonies’ is my most extraordinary and ambitious project. For this reason I look forward to getting together with the guys in my band, the orchestra and the audience on the 2011 Tour. For me, these people are all part of one large musical family.”

After his successful Rock Symphonies Tour in 2011, David went back to his classical roots. In the autumn, the star-violinist was Honorary Judge in the category violin at the International Music Competition Cologne. He fulfilled his lifetime-dream with the recording of the DECCA album “Legacy”, which was first released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On this CD you can listen to the Beethoven Violin-Concerto, which David considers this “the ultimate masterpiece of the violin repertoire”, plus various works by Fritz Kreisler.
Kreisler was not only a famous violinist, but also an exceptional composer. He wrote two beautiful solo cadenzas for the Beethoven Concerto, a longer one for the first movement and a somewhat shorter one for the third movement. David has always admired Kreisler’s profound understanding of music and has considered him an iconic figure. It seemed only natural to follow this tradition and play both Kreisler cadenzas.

Legacy proved to be an exceptional success. As soon as the album was released, it reached rank 6 on the overall-charts in Germany, the highest-ranking instrumental classical album in German chart history. In January 2012, the album reached gold-status. Legacy was released in the UK on 12th March and in the US on June 05.

© Dr. Burkhard und Sibylle Schäfer

David is playing the “A. Busch” Stradivarius (1716)

Displaying 298 Comments

  1. Posted by Barbara Binder    19/04/2014 22:36

    AN DICH:

  2. Posted by tim funk    16/04/2014 06:18

    Please let me know when David will be in the United States to entertain us. Thank you so much for your assistance…tim funk Enterprise, Oregon, USA

  3. Posted by Violeta    03/04/2014 19:38

    hace 1 año y por casualidad, vi en you tube, un video de David y me dejo impresionada, no sabia de su existencia y eso que lleva 22 años en la musica, pero igual que yo, hay millones de españoles que no saben nada de el, y es una pena. por que ,al oirlo, te cautiva con su música , su virtuosismo y su gran simpatia.
    Me gustaria saber por que nunca ha actuado en España, le gustan músicos nuestros como Pablo de Sarasate, Albeniz, y el maestro Rodrigo, conoce desde niño al tenor José Carreras, y colabora con su fundación, entonces no se por que nos excluye de sus tour y conciertos, ni siquiera es facil comprar sus CDs, solo puedes tenerlos por encargo, quien tiene la culpa de que no se haga una promoción en España para darlo a conocer?
    Amo su música, me ha ayudado en un momento de mi vida en que tenia problemas, me gustaria tanto asistir a un concierto suyo!!………Gracias David por tu música.

  4. Posted by greenblue    01/04/2014 09:25

    Lieber David,
    deine Art, der Musik Leben einzuhauchen ist sehr berührend. Es tut so gut den Schutzpanzer, den man so mit der Zeit um seine Seele gebaut hat von der Musik zerrieseln zu lassen, aufzuatmen und wieder neu aufzuleben.
    Danke, dass es dich gibt und alle die wunderbaren Menschen die mit dir diese wertvollen Werke realisieren.
    Love you all and what you are doing.

  5. Posted by Laurie Murphy    29/03/2014 03:11

    Amazing how you connect with your audience. We would be honored to have you come back to Worcester!

  6. Posted by Wendy Westrope    24/03/2014 04:59

    Hi David Garrett,
    How are you&hope all is great with you and your tour. I’m posting this not sure if you will see this post* My son and myself are fans&activity follow your music, tour.. I must say yoy are a
    Very talented violinist&amazing! My son Anthony is about to turn 16yrs in a few weeks
    And also a inspiring violinist a freshman in High school, (he started playing in 4gr) music is everything to my son&very dedicated to playing and his future in music as a violinis. You truly inspire him.. Your fashion clothing is hot&love to purchase some items for his birthday
    Do you have your owe clothing line! Please let me know where I can purchase. Thank You for your time and wish you&your band well on your tour** You were amazing in Mexico by the way ;) ,
    Yours Truly ,
    Miss Wendy (in California)

  7. Posted by Paulini1303    23/03/2014 11:47

    dear David :),
    I find it really fantastically you at so young age already appearances has made and has devoted yourself to the music :) and what you plays is really the hammer and it the fan heart touches too most deeply :) thanks there is such a great musician like you :)

    Kind regards Pauline :)

  8. Posted by bass    23/03/2014 04:53

    Thank you for wonderful night at Wallingford ,CT
    That was unforgettable experience !

  9. Posted by Karissa    16/03/2014 22:22

    David, I was at your concert in Chicago. My daughter was named Elise after Beethoven’s song. I delivered her stillborn at 38 weeks this past October 2013 and the first song I heard driving home from her funeral was Thunderstruck. After playing this last night you shortly after played Somewhere Over the Rainbow – This brought me to tears. Thank you for bringing a bit of heaven and a bit of Elise to me! God Bless. Karissa Ring

  10. Posted by Lynn M.    16/03/2014 00:42

    Dear David, Thank you for coming to Chicago today. You made me and my violinist companion extremely happy . We love you and we want you to know that your gift lights the hearts of many. Keep playing and keep smiling!

  11. Posted by Bob Maria Mihaela    15/03/2014 20:18

    Dear David you are magnific….thank you for your beautiful music ….thank you

  12. Posted by Farah    05/02/2014 07:05

    Dear Mr. Garrett,

    If possible, could you bring a concert to China in 2015?

    Best wishes,

  13. Posted by Seda    02/02/2014 18:41

    Dear David,
    I cannot imagine my life without Your music and art.!!! I cannot find the words to discribe my feelings listening Your music and performances … so, I am very happy that I live right in that era in which You live !!!

    With the best wishes and love
    Seda from Armenia

  14. Posted by pochi    24/01/2014 07:56

    ojala algun dia los de America del Sur tengamos la oportunidad de verlo a David y su banda en vivo .un beso desde Argentina

  15. Posted by merly    24/01/2014 00:13

    Was taking lunch & watching tv one day.Happened to turn the channel to PBS while David Garrett was shown playing a piece of his music,I was mesmerized to hear such beautiful sound for the first time.Never knew the guy so I had to search online.It was a Friday,just so happy to know that there’s a show by Tuesday in Civic Center here in San Jose.Tuesday came,I was so ecstatic to see him & listen to him for the first time in person.
    That was the best show i’ve seen so far considering he’s more of a classical artist.I’m so impressed that he’s able to play both classical,rock & pop music into something that everyone would enjoy listening to!!!
    Hope to see you back here in the San Francisco Bay Area soon!!!

  16. Posted by Eliza    21/01/2014 19:21

    I love how David refers to his fans as a musical family! I recently discovered David on Livestream playing live with Marcus Wolf. I fell in love with their beautiful music. Luckily, I was able to see them live 1 month later at the Alladdin!
    I have to say..I was and am “swept off my feet”. I can’t wait to see David live again someday. Thank You for bringing music alive again :-))

  17. Posted by Lory    20/01/2014 23:04

    Dear David I want to wish you a good day and a good continuation of your tour tomorrow night in San Jose. There is so much energy inside of you. bye bye . Loretta from Italy .

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