yakir arbib


International award winning pianist and composer

equally versed both in classical music and jazz, Arbib is four-time winner of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation for young talents (2006-2009), winner of the “Massimo Urbani International Jazz Award” (2008) and was signed at age 19 by the European “Philology Jazz Records” (Chet Baker, Lee Konitz and Phil Woods) under which he released his first album in trio “Portrait”. In July 2015 he won the Second Prize at the Montreux International Piano Jazz Competition, and was declared as “the most extremely original pianist” by the Jury – resulting in an invitation to perform with internationally renowned musicians Al Jarreau, Nils Petter Molvaer and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Arbib tours the world as composer-pianist giving recitals of completely improvised compositions on the spot (often on themes suggested by his audiances) – as well as pre-written works, and is commissioned by ensembles for new compositions – both with and without the piano. In April 2015 his first piano concerto “Mirror Canon” was premiered by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra with Arbib playing piano. He has appeared in venues such as the ‘Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ (Washington D.C.), ‘Tanna Schulich Hall’ (Montreal), the ‘Jerusalem Theater’ (Jerusalem), ‘Montreux Palace Theater’ (Montreux), and the ‘Teatro Vascello’ (Rome) among others; as well as being featured on radio stations worldwide such as “CIBL 101,5” (Montreal, Canada), “TSF Jazz” (Paris, France), “Dobop” (Tel Aviv, Israel) and on Medici.TV.  His compositions are commissioned by internationally acclaimed ensembles such as “ALEA III”, “The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra”, “Triple Helix Piano Trio” and “Stradivari String Sextet”.    Arbib holds a BM Cum Laude in Piano and Composition from  “Berklee College of Music” in Boston.

Long bio

Yakir Arbib was born in Jerusalem on March 6th 1989, and started playing the piano when he was 4 years old.  At 7 years old he enrolled at Tel Aviv’s “Stricker Conservatory Of Music” where he studyed between the years 1996 and 2007 taking baroque recorder, trumpet and ensemble playing in addition to classical piano repertoire.  During those early years Yakir performed in many concerts/recitals in the conservatory and has received a number of scholarships.

At the age of 14 his career took on a completely different turn when he attracted the attention of the only jazz teacher at the conservatory at the time who started then giving Yakir jazz lessons, and in 2004 he was admitted to the prestigious “Thelma-Yellin Highschool of the Arts” in Tel Aviv where he continued his studys in jazz with some of israel’s most influencial artists such as Amos Hoffman, Eli Degibri, and the Cohen brothers.   As a jazz player, yakir got the chance to perform as leader in some of the most important jazz clubs and festivals in Israel and Italy including “The Shablool”, “Ha Gada Ha Smalit”, “Charity Jazz Cafe”, “Diavolo Rosso”, “Villa Celimontana”, “Jazz At The Red Sea”, “100% Art”, “Roma Jazz” and has won the “America – Israel Cultural Foundation”(Keren Sharet) jazz performance  award for young tallents for 4 consecutive years (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) as well as a scholarship from Berklee College of Music to attend both their Summer program and Full-Time Degree program.

In May 2008 he was selected as finalist to participate in the prodigious “Massimo Urbani International Jazz Award” in Italy,  and after winning the first place, he got signed by the highly acclaimed Philology Jazz Records label (most noted for it’s works with Lee Konitz, Chet Baker and Phil Woods) under which he released his first album in trio.

The album “Portrait” (2009) is distributed in Europ, Israel, Japan and iTunes Music- it showcases Yakir’s own original jazz compositions alongside standards.

Shortly after recording “Portrait”, in his constant search for new sounds and new ways for expressing himself, Yakir has made a radical return to classical music – composing and performing his own original works; appearing in various prestigious halls such as “Steinert Hall” in Boston, “Felicja Blumental Center” in Tel Aviv, and the “Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts” in Washington.   His compositions have been performed by the ‘Kalistos Chamber Orchestra’, the ‘Triple Helix Piano Trio’ and ‘ALEA III’.

In the fall of 2009 Yakir enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Piano Department Chair Stephany Tiernan and Composition Chair Arnold Friedman.  During his stay in Berklee he was one of three pianists that were selected to perform solo in front of Berklee’s president Roger Brown and the board of trustees in 2012, and later he was asked to represent the college by writing an hour-long Concert Suite that was premiered at the ‘Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts’ in Washington.  He graduated with a degree in Composition and Performance Cum Laude in 2013.

Ever since graduating from Berklee, Yakir has been active performing for Israeli and Canadian radio, composing, and playing his solo concerts of piano improvisations.  In Spring 2014 he was invited by Berklee as visiting artist to give a clinic about his system for developing perfect pitch.