Michael Guttman is a violinist, conductor and music director of prominent festivals around the world, including Pietrasanta in Concerto in Italy, Crans Montana Classics in Switzerland, Le Printemps du Violon in Paris, and Made in Polin in Warsaw. He is also the music director of the Napa Valley Symphony and frequently conducts the Belgian Chamber Orchestra.
Guttman received the prestigious Scopus Prize (2014) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for his achievements in music, and was also nominated for a Grammy award for his Hindemith Album with the Philarmonia Orchestra. In 2014, the city of Pietrasanta granted Guttman honorary citizenship. He was the youngest violinist ever admitted to the Brussels Royal Conservatory at age 10. His debut at age 14, with Jean-Pierre Rampal, led to the meeting with his mentor Isaac Stern who recommended him to the Juilliard School in New York City where he studied with Dorothy Delay and The Juilliard Quartet. He studied with the legendary Russian violinist Boris Goldstein. In Goldstein’s name, he created a violin competition in Bern, Switzerland, together with Zakhar Bron.
As Belgium’s leading violinist, he was chosen to represent his country in 1992, during the Sevilla Universal Exhibition. Concerts at the Lincoln Center, Barbican Hall, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and in Asia were followed by invitations to prestigious festivals such as Progetto Martha Argerich, Flanders Festival, Bashmet’s Elba Festival, Folles Journées in Nantes and Tokyo, and the Menuhin Festival Gstaad. He premiered the Philip Glass Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in the USA and the Hong Kong Philhamonic for Asia, conducted by Jaap Van Zweden.
He has toured with Martha Argerich, Nestor Marconi, Nigel Kennedy, Boris Berezovsky and Vadim Repin among others. After collaborating with composers and conductors such as Lukas Foss and Noam Sheriff, he developed his conducting career and in 2017, toured the most prestigious halls in Spain appearing with the legendary pianist Ivo Pogorelich.
His encounter with Astor Piazzolla encouraged him to champion different styles of tango music, and in 2017 he created the first double concerto for violin and bandoneon with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and J.P. Jofre, the famous Argentinian bandoneon player. The recording was praised as « bracingly majestic » and « a sensual, cerebral treatment of modern tango ».
Hailed by the New York Times’ Allan Kozinn as “a violinist with a wealth of tone colors, with an exquisitely creamy sound… rich-toned and impassioned… impressively variegated,” and praised by the Jerusalem Post as “the Chagall of violinists,” Michael Guttman has performed on three continents, at London’s Barbican Centre, New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Bunko Kaikan in Japan.
Michael Guttman plays on a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin once owned by the great Italian violinist and composer Giovanni Battista Viotti.