The French violinist and conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow began his violin studies at the Nice Conservatoire at the age of six. He was only thirteen years old when he entered René Bénédetti’s violin class at the Paris Conservatoire and graduated with a Premier Prix for the violin in the same academic year.
Between 1962 and 1968, he won ten prizes in the leading international competitions, including the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, the Jacques Thibaud, the Montreal and the Sibelius; among these were first prizes at the Carl Flesch Competition in London, the Paganini Competition in Genoa, and the Geneva Tibor Varga competitions. In 1970 the SACEM awarded him its Ginette Neveu Medal and he also won the scholarship of the Fondation Sacha Schneider.
As a violinist, he has played all over the world, giving more than 100 concerts a year, to the acclaim of public and press alike: ‘Jean-Jacques Kantorow is a great violinist, a spectacular talent, the most prodigiously original violinist I have heard in this generation’ (Glenn Gould).
Jean-Jacques Kantorow also enjoys appearing in chamber music, which acts as an antidote to the solitude of a solo career. Along with the pianist Jacques Rouvier and the cellist Philippe Muller, he formed a trio that won first prize at the Colmar International Competition in 1970; he has also been the violinist of two string trios, the Ludwig Trio and the Mozart String Trio. Since 1970 Jean-Jacques Kantorow has taught in numerous musical institutions including the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, the Basel Musik-Akademie and the Rotterdam Conservatory, and has given numerous masterclasses throughout the world. Since the start of the 2019 academic year he has taught regularly at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki in an annual series of masterclasses.
In order to extend and deepen his musical knowledge still further, it was only natural for him to take an interest in conducting. Since 1983 he has been successively appointed music director of the Orchestre de Chambre d’Auvergne, the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and the orchestras of Orléans and Douai. For several years now Jean-Jacques Kantorow has been a privileged guest of the Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has already recorded nine CDs, with new projects due to take shape in the coming years.
Jean-Jacques Kantorow has more than 170 CDs to his credit, on such labels as Denon, EMI, CBS, Erato and BIS. Many of these recordings have won international awards.