Gidon Kremer was born in 1947 in Riga, the capital of Latvia. At the age of four, he began to play the violin under the tutelage of his father and grandfather who were both excellent string instrumentalists.
When he was seven, he continued his education at the Music School of Riga. Aged sixteen, he won the first prize of the Republic of Latvia. Two years later he joined the Moscow Conservatory as David Oistrach’s master student. Other prestigious awards followed: In 1967, Gidon Kremer won the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, first prize in the Paganini competition in Genoa and first prize in the international Tchaikovsky competition.
These achievements were the cornerstone for Gidon Kremer’s astonishing career in the course of which he worked with the most prominent European and American orchestras and conductors in all the major concert halls. Setting new standards with his interpretations, he established a reputation as an extraordinary and innovative artist.
Gidon Kremer’s repertoire is exceptional. He is interested in classical and romantic masterpieces as well as compositions of the 20th century. He has paid special attention to the works of e.g. Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Sofia Gubaidulina, Luigi Nono, Giya Kancheli, and Aribert Reimann. The works of living Russian and Eastern European composers occupy a prominent position in his repertoire. He helped Astor Piazzolla’s work achieve worldwide recognition.
In 1981 he founded the Chamber Music Festival in Lockenhaus, Austria, and appointed Nicolas Altstaedt as artistic director. In 1997 he founded Kremerata Baltica, a chamber orchestra comprising young, very talented musicians from the Baltic states. Since then he has performed regularly with the orchestra both at world-renowned music festivals and large concert halls.
Gidon Kremer has received countless prizes and awards recognising his work, his efforts on behalf of Latvian independence in the 1990s and his support for young talent. These include: The Latvian Order of the Three Stars, the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, the Frankfurt Music Prize, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana Prize, and the UNESCO Prize. At the 2010 Istanbul Music Festival he was honoured for his life’s work. Only one year later he received the renowned “Una Vita Nella Musica – Artur Rubinstein” Prize.
Many of Gidon Kremer’s over 100 albums have received awards, such as the ECHO Klassik Prize. In conjunction with Kremerata Baltica, he won a Grammy Award in 2002 for “Best Chamber Ensemble”. Gidon Kremer plays a violin made by Nicola Amati in 1641. Gidon Kremer is also a writer and has published four books.