Bartók World Competition

Joel Smirnoff (USA)

The violinist-conductor was a student of Chicago University during his high school years before going on to The Juilliard School. He was a member of Juilliard String Quartet between 1986-2008, for which he received a Lifetime Grammy Award in 2011. He started teaching chamber music and violin at his alma mater in 1986, where he was head of the Violin Department for 16 years. Encouraged by Seiji Ozawa, he also started conducting, with his official debut concert at the head of San Francisco Symphony. Smirnoff has gained a considerable reputation not only as a classical musician but jazz musician, too: he participated in the Bennett Sings Ellington Hot & Cool Grammy-winning album, and he regularly plays with American Jazz Orchestra as well as members of the Billy Taylor Trio. In 2008, he was appointed President of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and he has taken part in the international violin competitions of Naumburg and Indianapolis as a member of the jury.