Concert pianist Menachem Har-Zahav started piano lessons at the age of four. Within a year, university professor Dr. Gavin Doughty took over his piano education. His first concert took place at the age of only seven. Further years of piano studies followed at Indiana State University and by the time he had turned 16 he was asked to perform Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” with orchestra. The press afterwards proclaimed that his playing “is proof that talent trained locally can be of a quality comparable to that found in the hallowed music schools to the East [of the USA].”
While studying piano performance at Central Missouri State University he had the possibility to gain more concert experience and to take part in and win numerous piano competitions and scholarships. After receiving his Masters degree in piano performance, Har-Zahav started teaching at Lincoln University, where he became “Artist in Residence”, therefore able to concentrate on concertizing. Continuing his teaching career, he became Associate Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas, where he – at the young age of 26 – became head of the keyboard department. After three years of teaching, Har-Zahav moved to England for doctoral studies.
A move to Germany followed, where he has been pursuing his performance career, now playing about 70 concerts per year. He has performed with orchestras and especially as a soloist internationally. His numerous concert tours in Germany took him for instance to the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Gasteig München, Laeisshalle Hamburg and Beethovenhaus Bonn. He has also performed in the Netherlands, Switzerland, England and Italy.
His concerts are consistently received with great admiration by audience and reviewers who are amazed by his interpretations full of emotion and temperament. The German newspaper Neue Ruhr Zeitung for instance judged him as a “perfect romantic virtuoso, technically brilliant, expressive, sensitive without false sentimentality”. Because of the depth of his interpretations and his enormous virtuosic technique, he has been called world class and star pianist by the press. But for him the virtuosity never is an end in itself, but only a means to achieve transparent sound pictures in the service of the music.
Har-Zahav especially wants to attract young people to classical music. That is why he is not charging admission for under 18s at his concerts. In his own words: “I think it is a pity that so many young people think of classical music as old-fashioned and stuffy. I want to give them the opportunity to experience that composers throughout the musical epochs have written music that is still exciting to listen to today.”