Ohad Bar-David is widely considered one of the most versatile cellists in the world today. Equally at home as a classical cellist and an innovative improviser of music of all genres, he has enjoyed performing on international stages with both classical and ethnic musicians from all over the world. His classical music training began at the age of seven in Tel-Aviv, studying with Uzi Wiesel, supported by the American Israel Cultural Foundation. Later he came to the United States to study with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School and conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music with Max Rudolph.
Winner of the 1976 International Villa Lobos Competition in Brazil and the 1984 WFLN Young Instrumentalist Competition, Bar-David has appeared as a soloist with The Philly Pops under Peter Nero, given recitals in Spain and California and appeared on the TODAY show and radio broadcasts with the Network for New Music. He has also been represented by Astral Artistic Services and the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity.
An acclaimed soloist, Bar-David performed with leading orchestras in Israel and recorded at the Jerusalem Music Center, founded by Pablo Casals. He served as principal cello in the International Youth Orchestra, the National Orchestra of New York, and with the American Ballet Theatre. He was a member of the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and in 1987 joined The Philadelphia Orchestra, of which he served on the board of directors and as the artistic coordinator for the Hear O Israel concert at the Core States Center.
As a chamber musician, Bar-David has collaborated with Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Jaime Laredo, Rudolph Buchbinder and others, and he taught at the Eastern Music Festival. Inspired by visits to Arab, Jewish and Buddhist villages, in 2003 he became the founder, president and artistic director of Intercultural Journeys, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia that is committed to presenting performances, conferences, master classes, lectures, and other interactions that provide opportunities for musical dialogue and understanding among a variety of cultural traditions.
In partnership with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2007-08, Intercultural Journeys presented multi-media concerts, including Arab/Jewish cross-cultural presentations, and paid homage to Native American music and its influences on Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony.
Spreading the messages of hope, understanding and co-existence, Bar-David continues to work tirelessly to perform and create opportunities for open dialogues, bringing people together from different cultural backgrounds at universities, public venues, and peace-loving communities. His unique genre of cross-cultural music has been heard all over the world.
In the last few years, Bar-David has traveled as far as Spain, Italy, Palestine, Israel and across the United States with the international group of Intercultural Journeys’ artists, including Jie Bing Chen, Nawang Khechog, Hanna Khoury, Wu Man, Diane Monroe, R. Carlos Nakai, Kareem Roustom, Mandy Patinkin and Simon Shaheen. Together they have made numerous appearances on international radio and TV programs, and have collaborated regularly with WHYY and WRTI in Philadelphia. Bar-David’s most recent CD, Beyond Borders, features a cello choir recorded by him on multiple tracks, exploring new sounds of the cello: improvisations based on music from the Middle East and American Spirituals.
Biography courtesy of The Philadelphia Orchestra
Photo: Jessica Griffin