Virtuoso violinist Niv Ashkenazi has captivated audiences with his heartfelt musicianship and emotional performances. Praised for his “extremely colourful interpretations, characterized by maturity and authority” (Pizzicato Magazine), he has made several Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center appearances, and has performed in Europe, the Middle East, and across North America. His conviction that the impact of music serves people beyond the concert stage motivates him to collaborate on projects that create a strong emotional bond with his audience.
In the 2019-2020 season, he was the first ever Artist in Residence at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya). His debut album, Niv Ashkenazi: Violins of Hope, the first solo album recorded on one of the Violins of Hope, released in March 2020 on Albany Records. It has received international critical acclaim and was named one of the 10 best classical recordings of 2020 by the Chicago Tribune. Niv was also one of the featured soloists, alongside Yo-Yo Ma, for the soundtrack of the PBS documentary Harbor from the Holocaust. His performances and educational work with Violins of Hope have been featured on ABC7, Good Day LA, Spectrum 1 News, Telemundo, in the Los Angeles Times, and other major news outlets.
Niv has performed with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Juilliard String Quartet, Cavani Quartet, and Ariel Quartet. He has appeared as a soloist with the Long Beach Symphony, Culver City Symphony Orchestra, and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra among others. He has been a guest artist and given masterclasses at La Sierra University, California State University, Northridge, and Westmont College. Other performance highlights include recitals at Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, Terrace Theater, and Millenium Stage, The Soraya, the Granada Theatre, the Perlman Music Program Alumni Recital Series, and the Epiphany Music Guild Series.
Niv has been invited to perform at the Lake George Music Festival, Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop, Music Academy of the West, Keshet Eilon Summer Mastercourse in Israel, and iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates. Dyad, his innovative violin and bassoon duo with Dr. Leah Kohn, has performed on many concert series on the West and East Coasts, collaborated with dance companies, and frequently commissions and performs new works alongside traditional repertoire. Their arrangement of Bloch’s Prayer was recently published by TrevCo Music Publishing and they presented and performed at the 2021 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Symposium.
Niv holds both a B.M. and M.M. from The Juilliard School, where his teachers included Itzhak Perlman and Glenn Dicterow. He serves on the professional advisory board of Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to building inclusive playgrounds, and formerly served on the board of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra.
Niv's violin is one of the Klezmer violins. This violin came to Amnon Weinstein’s workshop from America. It is one of the first instruments that Amnon restored, and is dedicated to Shlomo Mintz. Little is known about the specific history of this instrument other than that it survived the Holocaust along with its owner, but it is a good quality instrument that was probably built near Yugoslavia and would have been owned by a family of means. It has a particularly beautiful Star of David inlay on the back, which was a common decorative technique of its time. Often these special instruments were hung on the walls of their owners’ homes instead of paintings or other representative art, which was not permitted according to Orthodox tradition. The varnish on the back of this violin is lighter than the front, showing that in the years before the war its Star of David was proudly displayed.