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nationality: Icelandic
clarinet
Dimitri Ashkenazy was born
into a musically successful family:
he is the son of pianist and
conductor Vladimir Ashkenazyand
Þórunn Jóhannsdóttir, and his
brother Vovka is also a professional
pianist. In 1978 he moved with his
parents from his native Iceland to
Meggen,
near
Lucerne
in
Switzerland, where he has lived
ever since. At the age of 9, he was
involved in a waterskiing accident
in Greece when one of his legs was
slashed by the propeller of a speedboat, leaving him severely jaundiced. He was brought to Sydney
to Professor Earl Owen, a pioneer in microsurgery, to have the leg rebuilt.
Ashkenazy received music lessons on the piano from the age of six, and at the age of 10 he switched
to the clarinet. He won numerous prizes at the Swiss Youth Music Competitions of 1986-88 in solo
and chamber music, and in 1989 he entered the Conservatory of Lucerne, obtaining a teaching
diploma with distinction in 1993 after studying underGiambattista Sisini. He was a founding
member of the European Soloists Ensemble in 1992. A 1994 review in Stereo Review said of his
interpretation of Richard Strauss, “The performers ... give an excellent account of themselves and
of the delectable music.”
Since 1991, he has given concerts all over the world, including at the Hollywood Bowl in Los
Angeles, the Sydney Opera House, in London's Royal Festival Hall, the Salzburg Festival, the
Rudolfinum in Prague and at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. He has worked with prestigious orchestras
such as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Japan
Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and the St. Petersburg
Philharmonicand with renowned artists such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Krzysztof Penderecki, Edita
Gruberová, Barbara Bonney andBernd Glemser. He has toured Europe with his father, and has
performed under him with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Ashkenazy has premiered four clarinet concertos: Concerto per Clarinetto e Orchestra Piano
Americano of Italian composer Marco Tutino at Teatro alla Scala, Passages for clarinet and
orchestra by Filippo del Corno, Richard Festinger'sEquinox and George Palmer's concerto It Takes
Two, for two clarinets and chamber orchestra.