Skip to main content

Michael Zaretsky

  • 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 of Radio Israel. The following year he played for Leonard Bernstein, who brought him to Tanglewood, where he successfully auditioned for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to being a longtime member of the BSO, Mr. Zaretsky regularly plays solo recitals and chamber music; he has appeared with such leading artists as Yuri Bashmet, Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax, and Vadim Repin as well as colleagues from the BSO. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Boston Pops, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. A faculty member at Boston University and the Longy School of Music, he regularly performs in the U.S. and abroad. He recently performed and discussed the six Bach cello suites in Athens, Greece at the invitation of the American College of Greece.

Mr. Zaretsky’s six recordings for ARTONA, reviewed favorably in such magazines as Gramophone, The Strad, American Record Guide, and Fanfare, include an album of Russian music for viola and piano; music of J.S., C.P.E., and W.F. Bach; music of Brahms and Schumann; Bach’s six cello suites performed on viola; and Hindemith’s Sonatas for unaccompanied viola, and, with Xak Bjerken, viola with piano.

Besides the traditional viola repertoire, Mr. Zaretsky performs an extensive repertoire of new music. His collaboration with composer Jakov Jakoulov has resulted in many new works for viola with piano, harpsichord, or orchestra. Film composer and Boston Pops Laureate Conductor John Williams wrote his Duo concertante for Mr. Zaretsky and BSO violinist Victor Romanul, dedicating it to Mr. Zaretsky. The pair premiered the work at Tanglewood in summer 2007. Their acclaimed recording of this and other duos for violin and viola was released in fall 2008.

Moscow State Conservatory; Moscow Philharmonic String Quartet; 1972, principal viola, Jerusalem Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra; soloist, Boston Pops Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Atlantic Symphony of Halifax (Nova Scotia); member, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Ars Poetica Chamber Orchestra; faculty, Boston University, Longy School of Music; 1985, conducting debut leading "Strictly Strings" in Boston; recordings on the Artona label.

Photo by Marco Borggreve, courtesy BSO