In 1962, aged 13, he went to New York to the Juilliard School, thanks to the support of Pablo Casals and Isaac Stern. There, under the tutelage of Ivan Galamian, “a light went on” and he realised that music was going to be his life.
After winning the Leventritt Competition in 1967, he gained international attention and secured his first recording contract. In 1970, he began conducting, and has since toured worldwide as a soloist and conductor. He was music director of the Saint Paul (Minnesota) Chamber Orchestra from 1980 to 1987, principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and music director of several festivals.
In 1998, he was appointed music director of the National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada. “Bringing musical education to the forefront of our public is now a global problem,” he says. He chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music and has pioneered distance-learning technology.
He is a frequent chamber music performer, appearing with such luminaries as Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and with the Zukerman Chamber Players, his acclaimed string ensemble of young musicians who have trained with him. He has made over 100 recordings earning 21 Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards.
In 2006, playing the viola, Zukerman undertook a recital tour of the U.S. and Canada with Itzhak Perlman on the violin. In the same year, Zukerman Chamber Players made a U.S. tour and released their first CD.
Zukerman describes his life’s journey as “an ongoing studying and restudying of music. I’m on this earth to make music.”