Gilad Karni (Hebrew: גלעד קרני) is an Israeli violist who has played in the New York Philharmonic and is currently principal viola in the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich as well as a soloist and player in chamber ensembles. A founder member of the Huberman Quartet, with which he made his debut at Carnegie Hall, he has since appeared there with the Guarneri Quartet. Violist Gilad Karni, has been praised for his tone and interpretation throughout the world. He is a violist that has left his trade-mark in many international viola competitions, as First Prize Winner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition 1994, and Third Prize Winner (1993) of the ARD Munich International Music Competition. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA. Other awards include the 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 International Viola Competition (England), and the Best Interpretation Prize for the commissioned concerto (by C. He. Joubert) in the 1989 Third Maurice Vieux International Viola Competition in France.
His participation in chamber music festivals include the Bellingham WA Festival, Dubrovnik Festival, Lapland Fest (Sweden), Nordic Academy (Denmark), Festival PRO - Bahnhoff Rolandsek (Germany), Neustadt Festival (Germany), the Jerusalem Chamber Music and the Kfar Bloom festivals (Israel), Davos Music Festival (Switzerland), Kuhmo (Finland) and the Newport, Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music Festivals (USA) among others. Special events in which he has appeared include Isaac Stern's 70th birthday celebration in Tel-Aviv and a performance with the Guarneri String Quartet in Carnegie Hall. In addition, he has been heard on radio broadcasts in Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland, South Africa and the USA (WQXR and National Public Radio.)
Mr. Karni has just been appointed Principal Violist of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, after serving as Principal for the past 2 years at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His vast orchestral experience ranges from being the youngest member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which he joined in 1992, to Principal Violist Positions of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, a post he held between 1996–2002, and the Rishon Le-Zion Symphony Orchestra in Israel. In Berlin, Mr. Karni is in demand as guest Principal at orchestras such as the Berlin Staatskapelle under Barenboim, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and Radio Symphony Orchestra, among other European orchestras. At the invitation of Maestro Claudio Abbado, he made an appearance as guest Principal Violist with the Orchestra of a United Europe in 1991.
A scholarship recipient of The America Israel Cultural Foundation (1985–1991), and an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Karni’s teachers included Paul Neubauer, Chaim Taub and Gad Lewertoff.
As an avid chamber musician, Mr. Karni has been a member of several chamber music ensembles, including the Huberman Quartet, of which he was a founding member. In 2000 the quartet had its Carnegie Hall debut. Artists that he has collaborated with include musicians such as Isaac Stern, Yefim Bronfman, Guarneri String Quartet, Julian Rachlin, Itamar Golan, Tabea Zimmermann, Mischa Maisky, Leonidas Kavakos, Nikolaj Znaider and Gerard Causse to name a few.
Mr. Karni’s recent engagements include his solo debut in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus and in Weimar with the Mendelssohn Players, of which he is one of its founders. This past season Mr. Karni performed the Bartok Viola Concerto in Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Israel Sinfonietta, Wuppertal Symphony and the Berlin Symphony, along with solo recitals, and chamber concerts in London’s Wigmore Hall and Paris’s Louvre. Future engagements for the coming season will include solo appearances alongside world-renowned cellists Yo Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. Return concerts at the Bellingham Festival in Washington-USA and solos in Italy, Germany and Israel are planned during 2006-2008 as well as chamber music performances throughout Europe.