David Garrett: His own path


At the age of 40, German–American violinist David Garrett is a bona fide crossover star, in non-Covid times playing regularly to thousands at sold-out arena shows. But, as he tells Charlotte Smith, he has no intention of deserting his classical roots

David Garrett’s career, as we know it, began at the Juilliard School. At first glance, there’s nothing odd in this assertion. Most professional classical performers consider their conservatoire years to be of utmost importance – a chance to meet and collaborate with musical peers, to learn from esteemed educators and to begin to make their mark in a competitive field. But Garrett had already signed to Deutsche Grammophon (DG) at the age of 13, making him the prestigious label’s youngest ever recording artist. He had recorded Paganini’s 24 Caprices for the label aged 15, and toured as a violin soloist with world-ranking orchestras and conductors since making his stage debut as a child prodigy with the Hamburg Philharmonic a few days before his eleventh birthday. So, putting a glittering career on hold in order to join the class of Itzhak Perlman at the New York institution in his late teens felt for many of his supporters like a step backwards…

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