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 321 Comments

  1. Posted by Sue in Seattle    06/12/2014 01:54

    I can’t wait for your movie to be available on DVD in the US. It didn’t play in a theater anywhere near me and I would really like to see it. I bought the music from it as soon as it was available. Thank you for making such wonderful music! You are my favorite artist.

  2. Posted by Cristina Mascioni    05/09/2014 08:22

    Buon compleanno David, ti mando tantissimi auguri, così come si fa con un caro amico.
    Happy birthday David, I’m sending you my best wishes as I usually do with my best friends.

  3. Posted by Dagmar    04/09/2014 21:03

    Hallo David

    Alles Gute zum Geburtstag und mögen deine Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen.

  4. Posted by Andréa    04/09/2014 13:44

    Today is a very special day for me: birthday of David. A different musician, captivating, caring, with own style, beautiful, that touches my heart. May God enlighten you, peace, success, health and love into your life! Kisses!

  5. Posted by Paola    04/09/2014 06:56

    FELÍZ CUMPLEAÑOS!!! QUERIDO DAVID!!! Te deseo otro año maravilloso… colmado de Amor y repleto de éxitos!!!
    Saludos cordiales desde Argentina… ojalá vengas a dar un show algún día … o podamos ver pronto tu película (que ya va a hacer casi un año de su estreno y no la pudimos ver en los cines de acá).

  6. Posted by aen45    04/09/2014 05:38

    Congrats on your new Echo Classik Award. Have a happy birthday and I hope you have a wonderful day on September 4th, 2014! Love your music more and more. Your talent is so unique, and you’re the best in the world. Big thank you to your parents and your teachers for guiding you.

    Your biggest fan.

  7. Posted by Alexandra    03/09/2014 21:10

    Happy birthday to u, happy birthday to u, happy birthday dear David, happy birthday to uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! donno will David see my greetings or no, anyway send it to him! plz ^~^ from all of those who love him :) with lots of blessings! thanx! ^~^

  8. Posted by Ms.Devi Kavitha@Malaysia    25/08/2014 13:43

    Dear Mr. David Garrett,
    I came across one of your concert on TV by accident when I was flipping channels. The closest I have come with classic or violin music was researching about Ludwig Van Beethoven for my assignment ages ago. Watching you play on TV mesmerized me and I looked you up on the internet, only to be more impressed. I have been listening to your songs over and over again for the past 5 days and you can take my word for it I will keep listening. You play with such passion and you actually show us how much you enjoy what you do. The Crossover pieces, good lord are a revolution to how many see classic music. Thank you for your efforts and please keep it up. It is such an unfortunate that I stay so far from the places you perform and I missed you when you came to Singapore. I will surely be there in one of your live. With heart full of hopes I wish you will get an opportunity to perform in Malaysia soon.(Sorry for the long comment)

  9. Posted by hera garrett    30/07/2014 18:00

    大卫 嘉瑞特is your chinese name,amazing,isn’t it~

  10. Posted by yerinchoi    11/07/2014 07:38

    The fans did not see the show you……
    South Korea to work five days a week.
    Please follow the show on the weekend.
    Avid fan of your whole family together is to go to your concert.
    Please go to your concert to happen in Germany not want to see it.
    I is not so rich.
    I look forward to your concert in Korea.

  11. Posted by Ana Paula    10/07/2014 15:09

    I am amazed by David Garrett, I can not stop listening to their music, it’s amazing the emotion that he can pass to play his violin. Sorry for writing, but I am Brazilian and I’m struggling to write in English. David I’m more of a fan who fell in love with his music.

  12. Posted by min-hui Jeong    02/07/2014 04:09

    데이빗 가렛..
    이번 한국 6월 공연에는 못 갔지만..
    다음에 내한할 때는 꼭 가서 당신의 연주를 들을거예요^^

    날마다 당신의 연주로 인해 행복한 하루하루를 보내고 있답니다.
    음악이 얼마나 아름다운 것인지 당신을 통해 더욱더 느끼고 있습니다.

    조만간 한국에 또 방문해 주세요^^
    God bless you!

  13. Posted by Jinhee Hwang    23/06/2014 07:25

    데이빗 가렛과 그의 밴드에게…..
    멋지고 환상적인 한국에서의 공연 감사합니다.
    무대에서의 열정과 부드러운 미소 …..를 보았습니다.
    당신과 밴드 모두에게 큰 박수를 보냅니다.
    항상 응원할께요… 사랑합니다..

  14. Posted by eun-ju    17/06/2014 05:22

    한국에 오신걸 환영합니다.!!!!!!!!!
    공연이 무척 기대됩니다.
    건강하시고 멋진 연주 기대할께요~~

  15. Posted by Elizabeth Dingeldein    13/06/2014 01:13

    The first time I heard you play, my thought was, damn! When I saw who was playing such incredible music, I thought, OH DAMN!!! But you are a true artist whom I’ve exposed many friends to. Was sick for your Chicago concert. Hopefully next time. It is my dream. Much like Julia Roberts at the opera for the first time in Pretty Woman, I am taken in by your talent and assorted choices to play…. Play On. God Blessed You…..

  16. Posted by bianca    04/06/2014 21:06

    Gibt es eine reële Chance dass die Inzenierung mit dem Verbier Orchester auf CD eingespielt werden? Nicht nur ich wuerde mich mehr als nur freuen!

  17. Posted by eun-ju    26/05/2014 15:27

    데이비드 안녕하세요~
    영어가 아닌 한국말로 댓글 달아요. 그럼 여러 다양한 나라에 당신의 팬이 있다는 기쁨을 더욱 느끼지 않을까 해서요. 당신의 한국 공연을 무척 기대하고 있습니다. 공연장에서 뵐께요..^^
    (부디 데이비드 옆에서 돕는 사람이 한국말을 해석 할 수 있길 기대하면서..)

    Sie sind herzlich eingeladen ..(?)

  18. Posted by Angie harding    13/05/2014 18:26

    Mr Garrett
    I know you like Led Zeppelin have you ever considered doing a cover of stairway to heaven I think it would be amazing.

  19. Posted by Dilara    09/05/2014 10:32

    Dear David, I see your amazing work and wish you have a school that is taught classical music and of course your style. If you open a school I’ll be your first student.

  20. Posted by Hulya Cekkir Uzumlu    08/05/2014 19:14

    Hi David, my son who is just 2 years old, is the biggest fan of you. He is watchig your rock symphony dvd 3 times in a day. When he becomes 4 or more years old, we’ll watch you live. When will you come to Turkiye?

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