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Michael Zaretsky

Michael Zaretsky headshot with viola


Born in the former Soviet Union, violist Michael Zaretsky graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory cum laude. He began his career as a member of the Moscow Philharmonic String Quartet and the Moscow Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra. In 1972, he immigrated to Israel and became principal viola of the Jerusalem Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra and a soloist with Radio Israel. The following year he played for Leonard Bernstein, who brought him to Tanglewood. That summer, while a Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center — then called the Berkshire Music Center — he successfully auditioned for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Besides being a longtime member of the BSO, Zaretsky regularly plays solo recitals and chamber music; he has appeared with such leading artists as Emanuel Ax, Yuri Bashmet, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, and Vadim Repin, as well as colleagues from the BSO. As a soloist, he has performed with the Boston Pops, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, and Sapporo Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared as violist with the dance company Tom Gold Dance. While on tour in Japan with the BSO in November 2017, Zaretsky gave a relief concert in the tsunami-stricken city of Ishinomaki. A faculty member at Boston University, Zaretsky has made several highly regarded recordings, including albums of Russian music for viola and piano; recordings of the music of J.S., C.P.E., and W.F. Bach; the music of Brahms and Schumann; Bach's six cello suites performed on viola; Hindemith's Sonatas for unaccompanied viola; and, with pianist Xak Bjerken, Hindemith’s Sonatas for viola with piano. Zaretsky has performed and discussed the six Bach cello suites on multiple occasions, including in Athens, Greece, at the invitation of the American College of Greece, and at TurnPark Art Space in West Stockbridge, MA. Besides the traditional viola repertoire, Zaretsky performs an extensive repertoire of new music. His collaborations with composer Jakov Jakoulov have resulted in many new works. In 2007, film composer and Boston Pops conductor laureate John Williams dedicated his Duo Concertante for Violin and Viola to Zaretsky, who played its premiere at Tanglewood that summer with BSO violinist Victor Romanul. Their acclaimed recording of the Duo Concertante and other duos for violin and viola was released in fall 2008.

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