At the age of 15, clarinetist Chen Halevi’s debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta created a sensation. Haaretz wrote: “This boy is blessed with a wonderful fusion of artistic musicality and amazing playing technique, all in the service of the muses.” Since then he has performed with several of the most important orchestras in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including the Israel Philharmonic, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the European Soloists, the Heilbronn Chamber Orchestra, the Moscow Virtuosi, the Jerusalem Radio Orchestra, the MDR Philharmonic Leipzig, the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, and the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
A native of the Negev desert in Israel, he studied the clarinet with Yitzchak Kazap and Richard Lesser, continuing with Mordechai Rechtman and Chaim Taub for his chamber music studies. Today, Chen Halevi is considered to be one of the world’s leading virtuoso clarinetists, playing recitals, concertos, and chamber music with equal success. He is famous for his impressive repertoire range that goes from the most difficult contemporary music to playing early music on authentic “period” instruments.
A frequent participant in summer festivals, Chen Halevi has appeared at the Marlboro, Ravinia, and Santa Fe Festivals in the U.S., while his European appearances have included stops at Schlesswig‑Holstein, Colmar, Forcalquier, Prussia Cove, Davos, Rolandseck, Aldebburgh, and Verbier Chamber Music Festivals, as well as the PMF Festival in Japan and the Perth International Arts Festival.
A great lover of chamber music, Chen Halevi has performed with Pinchas Zuckerman and Christoph Eschenbach, as well as numerous well-known string quartets, including the Keller, Szymanowski, Fine arts, Miro, Prazac, St. Lawrence, Arcanto, Vogler, and Kronos quartets.
He is internationally-acknowledged as a master specialist in the performance of contemporary music. His close ties with composers has led him to perform a great number of works by, amongst other, Berio, Kurtag, Lindberg, Golijov, Maresz, Jarrell, Ferneyhough, Stroppa, Mantovani, and Ades. Chen Halevi is a dedicatee of, to name a few, a cycle of pieces by Denis Cohen, Nodus for solo clarinet, Ombre for clarinet and electronics, and soft machine for clarinet and cello, as well as Les asperges de la lune for solo clarinet by Sven Ingo Koch and a clarinet trio by Lior Navok.
Halevi is now working on a major recording project, which presents an anthology of 20th Century music for clarinet, and includes his selections of the solo, chamber music, concerto, and electronic works, which changed the way we look at the clarinet today.
Teaching and giving master classes feature as important priorities in his career. He is currently the clarinet professor in the Trossingen Hochschule fur Music in Germany and has travelled all over the world to give master classes to spread his school of teaching and playing. Since 2007 he is a faculty member in the summer master classes at The Banff Centre.
In 2007 Chen Halevi founded ClaRecords – a company that will commission, produce, and record new pieces from today’s leading, as well as young and upcoming, composers. ClaRecords will be working with other modern art forms to stimulate dialogue between different modes of expression in the XXI century. In its first year Clarecords had commissioned five new pieces and made a music video in 3D computer animation.