Vengerov was born on 20 August 1974 in Novosibirsk, to a family with a strong musical tradition. His mother, Larisa Borisovna Vengorova, sang and conducted a 500 voice orchestra, and his father, Aleksandr Vengerov, played first oboe in the local philharmonic. At age five, he began studying the violin with Galina Tourchaninova, and five years later, with Zakhar Bron. 1984 saw the child prodigy at age 10 go abroad touring for the first time. In Lublin, Poland, he won first place at the International Karol Lipiński and Henryk Wieniawski Young Violin Player Competition. When Bron left Russia in 1987 to teach at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Vengerov and his mother followed him there, and did so again after Bron moved to Lübeck to open a school there. He subsequently emigrated to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces.
In 1990, Vengerov won the International Carl Flesch Competition in London. His public appearances – both solo and with orchestras – at major European music events sparked the interest of major record labels (to date, he has recorded close to 100 compositions or cycles) and music magazines. Numerous recording prizes and "Artist of the Year" titles (including one from Gramophone) followed, as did a Grammy Award, Edison Award (for the recording of Shostakovich Second Concerto), and the "Echo Klassik" annual distinction awarded to him by the German Television in 2003 for a recital featuring works by J. S. Bach).
In 1997 Maxim Vengerov became the first classical musician to be appointed International Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF. As UNICEF's Envoy for Music he has met and performed for children in such places as Uganda, Thailand and Kosovo. Playing by Heart, an American television production (on NBC), about the artist's meetings with young musicians during his master classes, was shown at the Cannes Festival in 1999. Contacts with Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim and Vag Papian, as well as performances with the world's most famous orchestras, like the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony, added to Vengerov's artistic progress. The artist took a two-year course in the Baroque violin and repertoire of the epoch. However, he does not restrict himself to the violin; the viola, jazz improvisation, dance, and conducting have also drawn his attention. Since the earliest stages of his career, he has been playing various Stradivari instruments; at present, it is the 1727 "Ex-Kreutzer".
Vengerov has been inspired by many different styles of music, including baroque, jazz and rock. In 2007, he turned his attention to conducting. Vengerov has conduct the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 2010 was appointed the first chief conductor of the Menuhin Festival Gstaad Orchestra. He went on to further his studies with Yuri Simonov, an exponent of the Russian-German conducting school, and graduated as a conductor with a diploma of excellence from the Ippolitov-Ivanov State Musical Pedagogical Institute in June 2014. Vengerov then enrolled in a further 2-year program of opera conducting - he was scheduled to conduct his first performance of the opera Eugene Onegin in Brisbane in November and Moscow in December 2017.
Vengerov has performed as soloist and/or conductor with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He often performs a major violin concerto in the first half of the concert and the conducts a symphonic work in the second half. This symphonic work is frequently Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, in which he also performs the violin solos.
In 2014/15 Mr Vengerov opened the concert seasons of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and Shanghai’s newest Symphony Hall alongside Maestro Long Yu and pianist Lang Lang. He also returned to the New York Philharmonic to a “hero’s welcome” (New York Times), as well as toured and recorded the Tchaikovsky concerto with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Myung-Whun Chung.
The 2015/16 season highlights saw Vengerov complete five recital tours in Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe and South America.
In the 2016/17 season Vengerov returned to Australia to open the season of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and conducted the season finale of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, with whom he is Artist in Residence this year. Further guest conducting engagements included the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
In 2017 and 2018, Vengerov was to return to Carnegie Hall with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and premiere a new concerto at the Beijing Music Festival written for him by the renowned composer Qigang Chen. He was to then conduct Eugene Onegin in Brisbane and Moscow, and tour Europe, China and the US in recital.
Vengerov has held various teaching positions around the world and is currently Ambassador and visiting Professor of the Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland (IMMA) and as of September 2016, the Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music in London. Vengerov has served on numerous juries including the Donatella Flick conducting competition, the Menuhin Violin Competition and in May 2013 conducted the finals during the Montreal International Violin Competition. Owing to his success as chairman of the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in 2011, where he auditioned live over 200 musicians in nine world capitals, Vengerov was re-elected to return as chairman in 2016.
Vengerov has received fellowships and honours from the Royal Academy of Music and orders of merit from both Romania and Germany’s Saarland, and in 2012 was awarded an Honorary Visiting Fellowship at Trinity College, Oxford.
Mr Vengerov has also received numerous awards including the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) (2003), two Gramophone Classical Music Awards (1994, 1995), a Classic Brit Award (2004), five Edison Classical Music Awards (1995, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2004), two Echo Music Prizes (1997, 2003) and a World Economic Forum Crystal award (2007) - honouring artists who have used their art to improve the state of the world.