Elizabeth Zeltser, Violin

The New York Philharmonic

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Elizabeth Zeltser

Violinist Elizabeth Zeltser joined the New York Philharmonic at the start of the 2003–04 season. Born in New York City into a family of Russian musicians, Ms. Zeltser began her violin studies at age three, and made her New York debut at age five with the Mannes College of Music Orchestra, performing Vivaldi's Violin Concerto under the baton of Felix Kruglikov. At five, she also appeared on Israeli television with her father, Mark Zeltser, a renowned concert pianist.

Ms. Zeltser studied at The Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay. While a student, she won the prestigious Juilliard Concerto Competition, and later continued her studies at the Moscow Conservatory, where she earned her master's degree in music performance. Upon her return to the U.S., she enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, where her studies were supervised by New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, and by Orchestra violinist Yoko Takebe.

Elizabeth Zeltser has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras in the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Russia, and South America. Her most recent performances included a European tour in Austria and Hungary with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Zeltser speaks French, Italian, Russian, and English, and is an accomplished swimmer.

“My earliest musical memory is performing with my father, who is a concert pianist, on a live telecast in Israel. I was four at the time. My parents are both musicians, and I traveled all over the world with my father, performing with him.”

Q&A with Elizabeth Zeltser

Read Elizabeth Zeltser’s April 2018 On the Cover Q & A here.

THE FACTS: Born in New York City. Attended The Juilliard School, studying with Dorothy DeLay; master’s in music from the Moscow Conservatory; Manhattan School of Music, studying with former Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow. Prior to the Philharmonic: solo career. Most recent recording: Concerto for Violin, Percussion, and Ping Pong by Andy Akiho, a connection made at CONTACT!, the Philharmonic’s new-music series. At the Philharmonic: Joined September 2003.

WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY? Performing with my father, who is a concert pianist, on a live telecast in Israel. I was four at the time. My parents are both musicians, and I traveled all over the world with my father, performing with him. My grandmother was an opera singer and my great grandfather was a conductor and violinist who studied in St. Petersburg with Leopold Auer.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? Zinaida Gilels, my lifelong mentor; Dorothy DeLay, from age ten; and, of course, my father, Mark Zeltser

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Beethoven

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A MUSICIAN? When I got my first paycheck! I was 12 years old and performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in Mexico City.

WERE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL? The violin always came first, but my parents were adamant that I learn languages. I went to the Lycée Français in New York and learned French; we spoke Russian at home.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Performing in front of thousands of people and sharing one’s thoughts and feelings with the audience. Now I’m making music with the best musicians in the world!

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE PHILHARMONIC: Playing Dvořák’s New World Symphony in Pyongyang, North Korea

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A CONCERT? I like to go spinning. It’s energizing and clears the mind.

DO YOU PLAY OTHER KINDS OF MUSIC? I enjoy playing chamber music and also improvising with my son, who is studying piano.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Gogol Bordello, Stéphane Grappelli, and Glenn Gould

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Swim, travel, windsurf, play tennis, and introduce my sons, Lucas and Alexander, to everything New York has to offer

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