Violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck, originally from Minneapolis, is an east coast-based classical violinist whose playing has been praised for its “impressive, masterful finesse” and “enormous soul and a big, vibrant sound.” Equally at home as a solo violinist and chamber musician, he has performed as a soloist or chamber musician across the North America, Europe, and Asia at venues such as the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Tonhalle (Zürich), Jordan Hall (Boston), the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), and Carnegie Hall (New York City).
A passionate educator as well, Isaacman-Beck has served on the faculties of the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College, Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, New England Conservatory, and Junior Greenwood Music Camp; he has given masterclasses at the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. When he’s not practicing, rehearsing, performing, or teaching(!), Isaacman-Beck loves to read, practice yoga, ride his bicycle, and cook, with a particular interest in traditional Italian dishes. A violinist who plays with “enormous soul and a big, vibrant sound,” (The Reading Eagle, December 2015) Ari Isaacman-Beck connects with audiences through his infectious love for music stretching from JS Bach to Elliott Carter and its infinite capacity to express the entire range of human experience. A captivating and multi-faceted performer, Isaacman-Beck has given performances as a soloist and chamber musician across North America, Europe, and China.
An accomplished solo violinist, Isaacman-Beck has presented recitals and concerti across the United States and Switzerland. He is the 2016 winner of the Lili Boulanger International Competition, won second prize at the Sion-Valais International Violin Competition, and received the Josie and Elsie Scharff Prize from the Cleveland Institute; at the former, the Swiss newspaper Le Nouveliste praised his performance of Elgar’s Violin Concerto for its “impressive, masterful finesse” (August, 2006). A committed performer of new music, he won the prize for the best performance of Thomas McKinley’s newly-commissioned work, Dialogues (2016), at the 2017 Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. He carries in his repertoire works of many other recent composers including Elliott Carter, Donald Martino, Richard Wernick, and Alfred Felder. Highlights of recent seasons include a Carnegie Hall debut as well as performances in Boston, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Virginia; previous performances have been broadcast on Public Radio in Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Minneapolis.
Isaacman-Beck is a passionate collaborator as well; he has appeared as a guest violinist and violist with the Borromeo, Chiara, and Attacca String Quartets; larger groups including A Far Cry and the New York City Ballet Orchestra; and for eight years he was the violinist of Trio Cleonice, an award-winning group described as “abundantly sincere and absorbing” by the Boston Globe (May 2016) and “among the most accomplished piano trios now before the public” (Seen and Heard International, March 2015). With the trio, he gave performances across the US and in Europe at venues such as Jordan Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; the group premiered and championed the 2nd Piano Trio of Richard Wernick (which was written for Trio Cleonice), as well as the music of other major American composers such as Donald Martino, Arthur Berger, and Elliott Carter. In addition to the group’s busy concert career, Isaacman-Beck won top prizes with the trio at the 2014 Schoenfeld International and Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competitions, and has enjoyed artist residencies at Yellow Barn, Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and Wellesley College. With the Trio, Ari Isaacman-Beck formed Trio Cleonice and Friends, a monthly concert series with a focus on community engagement and expanding the audience’s musical knowledge and boundaries. The series, which became a beloved staple in Brookline, Massachusetts, where it was based, was praised by Trill.me as “one of the most interesting and committed chamber series in Boston right now, exploring the repertoire from top to bottom, left to right, with an impressive roster of collaborators.” In more recent seasons, Isaacman-Beck has co-curated the Boston Beethoven Cycle, a multi-season concert series presenting all of Beethoven’s String Quartets alongside more recent solo and chamber works at the Pucker Gallery.
A devoted teacher committed to empowering and inspiring younger musicians, Isaacman-Beck was again the 2019-2020 Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin at the Sunderman Conservatory of Gettysburg College, where he was also the 2018-2019 Director of Orchestras and the 2017-2018 Visiting Assistant Professor of Violin. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, he was on faculty at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, VT. He has also served on the faculties of Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program, the New England Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory Division, The Rivers Conservatory, and Junior Greenwood Music Camp; has given masterclasses at the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Bucknell University, the University of Hawaii, and Husson College; and recently completed an extended teaching and performance residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Isaacman-Beck received degrees from the Cleveland Institute, Juilliard, Mannes, and New England Conservatory; his major violin teachers have included Donald Weilerstein, Ronald Copes, Laurie Smukler, Mark Steinberg, David Updegraff, and Mary West.
In his time away from the violin, Isaacman-Beck is a serious cyclist and runner, as well as an avid yoga practitioner. He is fluent in Spanish and has studied Mandarin for years; his literary interests range from Charles Dickens to Haruki Murakami to modern non-fiction about medical care in the U.S. He is renowned among his friends and beyond as a spectacular home cook, mixologist, and bread baker.