David Garrett

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At a Glance

Birthname: David Bongartz
Nationality: German
Born: Sep 04 1980


Biography

Part maverick, part genius, total virtuoso, David Garrett, 25, has been surprising people since before he was four years old. It was then that his father gave him a violin (he was having a tantrum because his older brother had a violin teacher) and, without any lessons, the toddler picked it up and began playing. Fast forward just four years and David was already one of the foremost violinists in the world working with the most celebrated teachers and performing solos with legendary orchestras and conductors.

“After two months without a teacher I was playing better than my brother,” laughs ... Read more

Part maverick, part genius, total virtuoso, David Garrett, 25, has been surprising people since before he was four years old. It was then that his father gave him a violin (he was having a tantrum because his older brother had a violin teacher) and, without any lessons, the toddler picked it up and began playing. Fast forward just four years and David was already one of the foremost violinists in the world working with the most celebrated teachers and performing solos with legendary orchestras and conductors.

“After two months without a teacher I was playing better than my brother,” laughs David now (his brother promptly gave up and took up piano, by the way). “I think my parents thought there must be some talent there, so they started to send me out to teachers.”

Working with the best teachers available in his native Germany, where his German father was a lawyer, his American mother a professional ballet dancer, David performed in front of an audience for the first time at the age of four.

From the age of eight, with a management team already behind him, David was playing solo with leading international orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Russian National Orchestra and attracting the attention of the world’s foremost music teachers and conductors, namely Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado and Mikhail Pletnev. He even performed under the direction of the legendary Yehudi Menuhin. “I’m flabbergasted when I listen to recordings of myself at that age,” says David, without a hint of vanity. “It is kind of weird to hear someone so young play so well, even if it is me.” Mind you, at the time, while his friends were becoming experts at PlayStation, he was putting in seven hours practice a day.

With his father, a musician himself, mentoring him and with major tours requiring home tuition, David was rather isolated as a child and, in his own words, something of a “geek”. “I’d listened to nothing but classical music until the age of 14,” he says. “So when I started going to regular school, and started to be exposed to all this pop and rock, it was a revelation.” He was particularly taken with hard rock – about as far away as you can get from the Beethoven and Mozart he was already well known for. “In school I was the odd guy,” he says. “But I’m good at adapting. Image and clothes became important and I started downloading Hendrix, Led Zeppelin…” And he still has great respect for the rock heroes, insisting that you have to be in total control of your instrument to be able to pull it off like they do. Well, if anyone should know…

He even learnt to play guitar, though he says he never got really good at it (it’s all relative), mainly so he could write his own compositions, something which the violin doesn’t lend itself to. But despite stepping away from total immersion in classical music, David had not yet learned to rebel. That would come when he secretly set up auditions for himself at what is arguably the world’s most famous music school, Juilliard in New York City, in order to study with his hero Itzhak Perlman while using a visit to his older brother who was studying at Harvard as cover. Unsurprisingly, considering he had already made several recordings and toured extensively, he made the grade, even though it wasn’t his first taste of music school: he’d actually been expelled from the Royal College of Music in London for general non-attendance and for breaking into the teachers’ rooms with a credit card to use their musical facilities!

“My parents didn’t want me to go to Juilliard,” says David, with a laugh, admitting that for most parents it would be a dream come true. “They thought I didn’t need it. But I needed to escape their influence. I actually found it musically cleansing. Before Juilliard I’d lived in a shell, spending 24 hours a day with adults. So to meet other musicians my age and to have a break from being treated like this child genius was a relief.” He also found that he had injured himself playing so much, wrecking his back and shoulders while recording the 24 Paganini Caprices for Deutsche Grammophon at age 15, meaning that the break from the performance circuit came as a huge bonus.

It was while studying at Juilliard that David was spotted by a model scout while out partying. Soon he was supplementing his meagre student income with assignments for magazines like Vogue and labels like Armani, appearing not only in glossy magazines but in runway shows. In fact, his college days and after he left were hugely enjoyable for David, who realised he had been something of a slave to music during his childhood. He discovered nightclubs, parties and good times (“I’ve definitely not left anything out,” he says) and started surfing, “just well enough to impress the ladies.”

With a new pad in New York’s funky Hell’s Kitchen, where West Side Story was set, he found himself in the middle of it all: close to the cultural life of the Lincoln Center but near enough to the club culture of Chelsea and the West Village. It was this new feeling of freedom, coupled with a talent that had been refreshed by his time at Juilliard, that led to what he thinks of as his first album (“Free”, Decca), never mind that he has a ridiculously lengthy catalogue for someone his age.

“This is the first one where I’m in charge,” he says. “The producing, the arranging, the composing, it’s totally my project. The record company trusted my instincts, gave me the freedom to experiment and I came up with all this stuff.”

And so the virtuoso maverick arrives. With his natural talent, the input of the finest music teachers in the world and a spirit unusual in the sometimes fusty world of classical music, David has emerged as fully-formed, fully-rounded – not to mention highly attractive - artist. He has already played for Popes and princes and presidents (the German President saw David when he was just 11 and was so impressed he actually set about securing him a priceless 1718 Stradivarius: “I used to leave violins on buses and in hotel rooms when I was younger, but not this one”) but a whole new audience awaits.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Part maverick, part genius, total virtuoso, David Garrett, 25, has been surprising people since before he was four years old. It was then that his father gave him a violin (he was having a tantrum because his older brother had a violin teacher) and, without any lessons, the toddler picked it up and began playing. Fast forward just four years and David was already one of the foremost violinists in the world working with the most celebrated teachers and performing solos with legendary orchestras and conductors.

“After two months without a teacher I was playing better than my brother,” laughs David now (his brother promptly gave up and took up piano, by the way). “I think my parents thought there must be some talent there, so they started to send me out to teachers.”

Working with the best teachers available in his native Germany, where his German father was a lawyer, his American mother a professional ballet dancer, David performed in front of an audience for the first time at the age of four.

From the age of eight, with a management team already behind him, David was playing solo with leading international orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Russian National Orchestra and attracting the attention of the world’s foremost music teachers and conductors, namely Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado and Mikhail Pletnev. He even performed under the direction of the legendary Yehudi Menuhin. “I’m flabbergasted when I listen to recordings of myself at that age,” says David, without a hint of vanity. “It is kind of weird to hear someone so young play so well, even if it is me.” Mind you, at the time, while his friends were becoming experts at PlayStation, he was putting in seven hours practice a day.

With his father, a musician himself, mentoring him and with major tours requiring home tuition, David was rather isolated as a child and, in his own words, something of a “geek”. “I’d listened to nothing but classical music until the age of 14,” he says. “So when I started going to regular school, and started to be exposed to all this pop and rock, it was a revelation.” He was particularly taken with hard rock – about as far away as you can get from the Beethoven and Mozart he was already well known for. “In school I was the odd guy,” he says. “But I’m good at adapting. Image and clothes became important and I started downloading Hendrix, Led Zeppelin…” And he still has great respect for the rock heroes, insisting that you have to be in total control of your instrument to be able to pull it off like they do. Well, if anyone should know…

He even learnt to play guitar, though he says he never got really good at it (it’s all relative), mainly so he could write his own compositions, something which the violin doesn’t lend itself to. But despite stepping away from total immersion in classical music, David had not yet learned to rebel. That would come when he secretly set up auditions for himself at what is arguably the world’s most famous music school, Juilliard in New York City, in order to study with his hero Itzhak Perlman while using a visit to his older brother who was studying at Harvard as cover. Unsurprisingly, considering he had already made several recordings and toured extensively, he made the grade, even though it wasn’t his first taste of music school: he’d actually been expelled from the Royal College of Music in London for general non-attendance and for breaking into the teachers’ rooms with a credit card to use their musical facilities!

“My parents didn’t want me to go to Juilliard,” says David, with a laugh, admitting that for most parents it would be a dream come true. “They thought I didn’t need it. But I needed to escape their influence. I actually found it musically cleansing. Before Juilliard I’d lived in a shell, spending 24 hours a day with adults. So to meet other musicians my age and to have a break from being treated like this child genius was a relief.” He also found that he had injured himself playing so much, wrecking his back and shoulders while recording the 24 Paganini Caprices for Deutsche Grammophon at age 15, meaning that the break from the performance circuit came as a huge bonus.

It was while studying at Juilliard that David was spotted by a model scout while out partying. Soon he was supplementing his meagre student income with assignments for magazines like Vogue and labels like Armani, appearing not only in glossy magazines but in runway shows. In fact, his college days and after he left were hugely enjoyable for David, who realised he had been something of a slave to music during his childhood. He discovered nightclubs, parties and good times (“I’ve definitely not left anything out,” he says) and started surfing, “just well enough to impress the ladies.”

With a new pad in New York’s funky Hell’s Kitchen, where West Side Story was set, he found himself in the middle of it all: close to the cultural life of the Lincoln Center but near enough to the club culture of Chelsea and the West Village. It was this new feeling of freedom, coupled with a talent that had been refreshed by his time at Juilliard, that led to what he thinks of as his first album (“Free”, Decca), never mind that he has a ridiculously lengthy catalogue for someone his age.

“This is the first one where I’m in charge,” he says. “The producing, the arranging, the composing, it’s totally my project. The record company trusted my instincts, gave me the freedom to experiment and I came up with all this stuff.”

And so the virtuoso maverick arrives. With his natural talent, the input of the finest music teachers in the world and a spirit unusual in the sometimes fusty world of classical music, David has emerged as fully-formed, fully-rounded – not to mention highly attractive - artist. He has already played for Popes and princes and presidents (the German President saw David when he was just 11 and was so impressed he actually set about securing him a priceless 1718 Stradivarius: “I used to leave violins on buses and in hotel rooms when I was younger, but not this one”) but a whole new audience awaits.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Part maverick, part genius, total virtuoso, David Garrett, 25, has been surprising people since before he was four years old. It was then that his father gave him a violin (he was having a tantrum because his older brother had a violin teacher) and, without any lessons, the toddler picked it up and began playing. Fast forward just four years and David was already one of the foremost violinists in the world working with the most celebrated teachers and performing solos with legendary orchestras and conductors.

“After two months without a teacher I was playing better than my brother,” laughs David now (his brother promptly gave up and took up piano, by the way). “I think my parents thought there must be some talent there, so they started to send me out to teachers.”

Working with the best teachers available in his native Germany, where his German father was a lawyer, his American mother a professional ballet dancer, David performed in front of an audience for the first time at the age of four.

From the age of eight, with a management team already behind him, David was playing solo with leading international orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Russian National Orchestra and attracting the attention of the world’s foremost music teachers and conductors, namely Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado and Mikhail Pletnev. He even performed under the direction of the legendary Yehudi Menuhin. “I’m flabbergasted when I listen to recordings of myself at that age,” says David, without a hint of vanity. “It is kind of weird to hear someone so young play so well, even if it is me.” Mind you, at the time, while his friends were becoming experts at PlayStation, he was putting in seven hours practice a day.

With his father, a musician himself, mentoring him and with major tours requiring home tuition, David was rather isolated as a child and, in his own words, something of a “geek”. “I’d listened to nothing but classical music until the age of 14,” he says. “So when I started going to regular school, and started to be exposed to all this pop and rock, it was a revelation.” He was particularly taken with hard rock – about as far away as you can get from the Beethoven and Mozart he was already well known for. “In school I was the odd guy,” he says. “But I’m good at adapting. Image and clothes became important and I started downloading Hendrix, Led Zeppelin…” And he still has great respect for the rock heroes, insisting that you have to be in total control of your instrument to be able to pull it off like they do. Well, if anyone should know…

He even learnt to play guitar, though he says he never got really good at it (it’s all relative), mainly so he could write his own compositions, something which the violin doesn’t lend itself to. But despite stepping away from total immersion in classical music, David had not yet learned to rebel. That would come when he secretly set up auditions for himself at what is arguably the world’s most famous music school, Juilliard in New York City, in order to study with his hero Itzhak Perlman while using a visit to his older brother who was studying at Harvard as cover. Unsurprisingly, considering he had already made several recordings and toured extensively, he made the grade, even though it wasn’t his first taste of music school: he’d actually been expelled from the Royal College of Music in London for general non-attendance and for breaking into the teachers’ rooms with a credit card to use their musical facilities!

“My parents didn’t want me to go to Juilliard,” says David, with a laugh, admitting that for most parents it would be a dream come true. “They thought I didn’t need it. But I needed to escape their influence. I actually found it musically cleansing. Before Juilliard I’d lived in a shell, spending 24 hours a day with adults. So to meet other musicians my age and to have a break from being treated like this child genius was a relief.” He also found that he had injured himself playing so much, wrecking his back and shoulders while recording the 24 Paganini Caprices for Deutsche Grammophon at age 15, meaning that the break from the performance circuit came as a huge bonus.

It was while studying at Juilliard that David was spotted by a model scout while out partying. Soon he was supplementing his meagre student income with assignments for magazines like Vogue and labels like Armani, appearing not only in glossy magazines but in runway shows. In fact, his college days and after he left were hugely enjoyable for David, who realised he had been something of a slave to music during his childhood. He discovered nightclubs, parties and good times (“I’ve definitely not left anything out,” he says) and started surfing, “just well enough to impress the ladies.”

With a new pad in New York’s funky Hell’s Kitchen, where West Side Story was set, he found himself in the middle of it all: close to the cultural life of the Lincoln Center but near enough to the club culture of Chelsea and the West Village. It was this new feeling of freedom, coupled with a talent that had been refreshed by his time at Juilliard, that led to what he thinks of as his first album (“Free”, Decca), never mind that he has a ridiculously lengthy catalogue for someone his age.

“This is the first one where I’m in charge,” he says. “The producing, the arranging, the composing, it’s totally my project. The record company trusted my instincts, gave me the freedom to experiment and I came up with all this stuff.”

And so the virtuoso maverick arrives. With his natural talent, the input of the finest music teachers in the world and a spirit unusual in the sometimes fusty world of classical music, David has emerged as fully-formed, fully-rounded – not to mention highly attractive - artist. He has already played for Popes and princes and presidents (the German President saw David when he was just 11 and was so impressed he actually set about securing him a priceless 1718 Stradivarius: “I used to leave violins on buses and in hotel rooms when I was younger, but not this one”) but a whole new audience awaits.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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