David Zinman, conductor


'… So this fine account, recorded live in Chicago last year, is most welcome, as well as once again refuting the fond old insular notion that to understand Elgar you have to be English. Gil Shaham plays with a wonderfully pure, true, expressive tone, and phrases like a master...'

Sunday Times

'Gil Shaham and David Zinman respond on an exceptional level to the intensity and urgency of Elgar's big concerto, relishing their informed give-and-take and emphasizing momentum and substance while absolutely avoiding anything that might smack of indulgence... it is exceptionally persuasive, and the recorded sound itself conveys both its warmth and its vigor superbly.'


'Shaham’s playing on this album is so supremely gorgeous, better than on any other I’ve heard… The balances are exquisite, revealing details I never knew were there. This album also has the richest, most vibrant, balanced sound you’re likely to get … The flow and form [3rd movement] are complete, and the long cadenza at the end is worth the entire recording… as Shaham turns in the most exquisite, rapturous, technically perfect, and (may I say) exotically beautiful cadenza (with the widest-ranged, most awesome portamento) I’ve ever heard in this music.'

American Record Guide

Born in 1936 in New York, David Zinman first studied the violin at the age of 6. Later, he graduated from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Ohio and pursued advanced work in composition at the University of Minnesota. He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters David Zinman then studied conducting at the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center. There, he came to the attention of Pierre Monteux, who, in 1961, invited him to be his assistant with the London Symphony Orchestra. He was given his first important conducting opportunities and at the 1963 Holland Festival, David Zinman was hailed by critics as a major conducting discovery.In 1964 David Zinman became one of the youngest conductors of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra in Amsterdam where he stayed until 1977.

His success in Holland soon led to his appointment as conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic from 1979-1982. David Zinman was then made Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic 1974-1985, where he made numerous recordings and tours, and his reputation in the States was established. From 1985 to 1998, David Zinman was Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. As Music Director he introduced new programming ideas to the Baltimore Symphony schedule: a Summer Music festival, a Discovery series devoted to contemporary music, and Saturday morning Casual Concerts featuring informal commentary by the conductor.

Since his American conducting debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1967, he has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras. He has guest-conducted all the leading North American orchestras including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minnesota and San Francisco Symphony. He was artistic director of Minnesota’s Orchestra’s Viennese Sommerfest from 1994-96. In Europe, he regularly conducts major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Israel Philharmonic and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In 2003 the Tonhalle Orchestra made its debut at the BBC Proms in London. The orchestra and David Zinman received rapturous reviews. They returned in 2008 and also performed at the Edinburgh Festival and returned again to both the Proms and Edinburgh in 2011.  

David Zinman has made numerous recordings with the Tonhalle Orchestra, including orchestral works by Arthur Honegger, Mozart violin concertos with Pamela Frank, works for flute by Katchaturian and Ibert for EMI with Emmanuel Pahud. The complete Beethoven Symphonies on the Arte Nova label have sold almost 1,000,000 copies and gained him the German Record Critics’ Prize in 1999. A box of seven CDs featuring the symphonic works of Richard Strauss were released on Arte Nova. In the 2003/04 season David Zinman recorded all the Schumann symphonies and Beethoven overtures. Following this came the complete Beethoven piano concertos, the violin concerto, and the triple concerto with soloists pianist Yefim Bronfman, cellist Truls Mørk and violinst Gil Shaham, with whom he has also recorded the Elgar Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for the violinists own label Canary Classics. Zinman’s complete the Mahler cycle recorded the Tonhalle Orchestra over a period of six years was completed in 2010.

David Zinman’s extensive discography of over 100 recordings have won him five Grammy Awards, two Grands Prix du Disque, two Edison Prizes, the German Record Critics’ Prize and one Gramophone Award, and have hugely enhanced David Zinman’s reputation. His 1990 recording of the Gorecki 3rd symphony on the Warner Classics Label with the London Sinfonietta became a musical phenomenon, which has not been repeated since in the commercial world of classical music.