Lauded by The New York Times for his “strong imaginative programming,” Yehuda Gilad takes an innovative approach to music-making, which has earned him a reputation as one of today’s most dynamic and charismatic artists. A conductor, instrumentalist, and teacher, he strives for “total musicianship,” and as a result, he has won the acclaim of both critics and audiences alike.
Currently Music Director of the Colburn Orchestra, Gilad served as Music Director of the Colonial Symphony of New Jersey from 1988-2003. According to The Star-Ledger, he “transformed the Colonial Symphony into one of [New Jersey’s] artistic trendsetters.” Other music directorships have included the 20th Century Unlimited concert series (Santa Fe, New Mexico), the Thornton Chamber Orchestra, and the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra. His appearances as a guest conductor have garnered critical acclaim in the United States, Asia, and Europe, where he has conducted throughout Spain, Sweden, Germany, and France. In 1987 he became the first Israeli-born conductor to perform in China and has since conducted numerous engagements in Beijing and Shanghai. Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with nearly every leading artist, including Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Pepe Romero, Joseph Kalichstein, Vladimir Feltsman, and Anne-Marie McDermott.
Born and raised on a kibbutz in Israel, Gilad began his musical education at the age of 16. Following his conservatory studies, he immigrated to the United States in 1975 to further his education. His former teachers were Giora Feidman, Mitchell Lurie, William Schaefer, Daniel Lewis, and Herbert Zipper. Gilad was also an active participant in numerous intensive master classes with the late Sergiu Celibidache and Leonard Bernstein.