Violist Gilad Karni has been praised throughout the world for his tone and interpretation. His technique and musicality have earned him countless honors, from first prizes at competitions to leadership roles in some of the world's finest orchestras. Equally at home in orchestral and solo or chamber music settings, Karni can be heard on concert stages around the globe in a range of repertoire, as well as on recordings.
Karni has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and teacher worldwide. He appeared at many of the world's great festivals, including the Casals Festival-France, ISA-Austria, Newport Music Festival (RI), and the Rolandsek Chamber Music Festival with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Dubrovnik Festival, Bastad and Lapland Festivals (Sweden), Nordic Academy (Denmark), Festival PRO - Bahnhof Rolandsek and Neustadt Festival (Germany), Kfar Blum(Israel), Davos Music Festival (Switzerland),and Kuhmo (Finland) in Europe, and the Aspen, Newport, Bellingham Festival WA, Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals in the U.S. In 2010 he performed in the First Kaposvar International Music Festival where he performed with musicians such as Joshua Bell and Zoltan Kocic in Hungary. Karni can be heared on radio broadcasts in Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland, South Africa and the U.S.
Gilad Karni has left his mark on many international viola competitions, winning First Prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition 1994, and Third Prize at the ARD Munich International Music Competition in 1993. His other awards include Third Prize in the 1992 Bryan International String Competition (USA), First Prize in the Israeli Broadcasting Authority Competition for Best Performance of 1991, the Peter Schidlof Prize for the Most Beautiful Tone in the 1991 Lionel Tertis Viola Competition (England), and the Best Interpretation Prize for the commissioned concerto (by C. He. Joubert) in the 1989 Third International Maurice Vieux Viola Competition in France.
Among Karni’s career highlights were concerts with late Isaac Stern at his 70th birthday celebration in Tel-Aviv, and with the Guarneri String Quartet in Carnegie Hall. The 2009 world premiere of Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" arranged for viola and orchestra with the Berlin Symphony at the famed Berlin Philharmonie. By 2011, Karni gave the world premiere to this arrangement with orchestras in South & North America - Bogota Filharmoni in Colombia and the Hartford Symphony. He has performed the Bartok's Viola Concerto in Germany, Switzerland, Romania and Poland; Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Biel Symphony, Israel Sinfonietta with Maxim Vengerov conducting & Symphony Rishon LeZion, Wuppertal Symphony and the Berlin Symphony; and appearances alongside world acclaimed cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Heinrich Schiff performing Strauss’ Don Quixote. Gilad Karni has given the world premiere of "ViolAlive" by Gideon Lewensohn and the Israel Sinfonietta, and gave the Hungarian premiere of Miklos Rozsa's viola concerto with the Budapest Concert Orchestra at the renowned Spring Festival to mark the composer's 100 year centennial. Both performances led to CD recordings on the Naxos label, which was released in 2008 to great critical acclaim and was nominated for a Grammy, and Sony CD of Gideon Lewensohn’s “ViolAlive” and the Shostakovich Viola Sonata arranged for Solo Viola, Strings and Celesta with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Karni’s recording of the Bruch Romance with the Biel Symphony can be heard on the Gould label.
Recent & future engagements include solo appearances with the Southwest Florida Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and Bringuier, Malaysian Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Malaysian Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa (Lisbon), Belgrade Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra, Bangor Symphony, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. During his summer seasons, Karni has served on faculties of the Banff Center of the Arts in Canada, the Aspen Music Festival in the U.S, and the Linderman and CISMA Music festivals in Seoul, Korea and in China - at the invitations of Maestri David Zinman Charles Dutoit. Karni is Professor of Viola at the Lausanne Conservatory of Music since 2008. As a devoted teacher, Karni returns to give masterclasses at the New World Symphony in Miami and the Lynn University in Florida, was coaching at Curtis and Baltimore Schools of Music among others. In past summers, Karni served on the Viola faculties of the Jerusalem Music Center and Israel Youth Philharmonic, Keshet Eilon and the Semmering ISA Mastercourses in Austria – of which he returns regularly, and will be teaching and performing at the Pablo Casals Festival summer 2017.
Karni was a founding member of the Huberman quartet (1996-2001) and performed as a guest with the Jerusalem Quartet on tour with world famous pianist Menachem Pressler at the Concertgebouw and Paul Meyer clarinet, in Paris.
Gilad Karni is Prof. of Viola at HEMU Lausanne since 2008 and in 2016 he was nominated Prof. of Viola & Chamber Music at the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. Additionally, Mr. Karni is president of the Swiss Viola Society and has a full schedule planned ahead with his pianist Anna Keiserman and guests. Karni is Principal Violist of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, a post he was appointed to in 2004 by David Zinman. Prior to his tenure there, he was Principal Viola for two years at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Karni's vast orchestral experience ranges from being the youngest member of the New York Philharmonic, which he joined in 1992, to Principal Viola positions of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, a post he held between 1996-2002. Karni was invited as guest Principal with such orchestras as the Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim, the Bavarian Radio, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and Radio Symphony Orchestra. He makes frequent appearances with other European orchestras, as well, and at the invitation of Claudio Abbado, he performed as guest Principal Violist with the Orchestra of a United Europe in 1991.
Karni was a scholarship recipient of The America Israel Cultural Foundation (1985-1991), and is an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music. Since 2015 he concertizes with his partner Anna Keiserman at the K2K Duo. Gilad Karni plays on a viola made by Hiroshi Iizuka in 1982, previously owned by American violist and pedagogue Emmanuel Vardi.