I consider Gerald to be a very fine musician, which makes him a great enrichment to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Besides his contribution to the orchestra, Mr. Karni has proven to be a very talented young conductor in recent events that I have seen, with a great career ahead.
In 2021, the confident and compelling young conductor Gerald Karni received a silver medal and special mention at the Third International Antál Dorati Conducting Competition in Budapest and was one of 20 conductors selected to participate in the Eighth International Jorma Panula Conducting Competition in Vaasa, Finland. The following year, he was chosen as a conducting fellow at the Verbier Festival, where he assisted Gianandrea Noseda, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and Sir Simon Rattle as an assistant conductor. Other formative mentors include Alan Gilbert, who engaged Karni as an assistant conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and Daniel Barenboim, who directs the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in which Karni is a violist. As a conductor, he has appeared with orchestras in the United States, Switzerland, Hungary, Finland, and Bulgaria.
Born into a musical family in Israel, Gerald was initially mentored by his father Gilad Karni, a prominent violist and principal at the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. Since then, he has been featured on NPR’s “From the Top,” WQXR, and BR Klassik and in 2019 he released a single on Sony’s RCA label of Kreisler’s Liebesleid, arranged for viola and strings. He has performed at Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Salzburg Festival, Berlin Waldbühne, Lucerne Festival, London Proms, Prague ́s Dvorak Hall, Tonhalle Zurich, Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Hall, and Walt Disney Hall.
Karni completed his bachelor’s degree at the Zurich University of the Arts, studying with Lawrence Power and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, working with Professor Marc Kissozcy.