Moshe Hammer. Violinist, teacher, born Budapest 29 Mar 1946, naturalized Canadian 1975. Moshe Hammer has been a respected international performer, teacher, and advocate for children in the arts. Raised in Israel, Hammer studied 1954-67 with Ilona Feher, receiving many awards and scholarships as a young performer. After graduating in 1967 from the Rubin Academy of Music at the University of Tel-Aviv, he studied briefly in 1967 with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School, then 1968-9 with Jascha Heifetz in Los Angeles, where he participated in the chamber music concerts of Heifetz and the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. He studied 1969-70 with Yehudi Menuhin in London, and won a medal in 1970 at the Thibaud Competition in Paris.
In 1970 Hammer became associate concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and he served 1971-4 as concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic. He was a member 1972-80 of the Calgary-based piano trio One Third Ninth. He played 1981-5 in the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (as concertmaster from 1982) and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble (as principal violin). In September 1984 he performed in China on a trip sponsored by the Government of Canada. He was a founding member in 1984 of the Amadeus Ensemble, and in 1986 he became a member of Da Camera Ensemble with James Campbell, clarinet; Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, cello; and William Tritt, piano. Beginning in 1997 Hammer was a member of the Galaxy Trio with violinist Lenny Solomon and jazz pianist Bernie Senensky. In addition to ensemble work, he has been a soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and other orchestras in North America and Europe, and has been heard frequently on CBC radio broadcasts.
With Da Camera Hammer recorded works by Bartók, Pauk, and Schumann (RCI 637) in 1986, and in 1987 he recorded an album of late-Romantic show pieces for violin with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under Koizumi (CBC SM-5076). Hammer has also recorded, with Kevin McMillan, two songs by Vaughan Williams, "Searching for Lambs" and "How Cold the Wind Doth Blow" (1987, Marquis ERAD-127 CD); and in 1988 he recorded Salon Music with Tsyoshi Tsutsumi and William Tritt (CBC Musica Viva MVCD-1043).
Teaching and Arts Advocacy
Hammer taught 1980-2 at York University and has adjudicated at festivals and offered master classes at schools throughout Canada and Europe. In 2007 he founded the non-profit educational program The Hammer Band - From Violence to Violins. The program provides free violin lessons (including an instrument), weekly rehearsals, and performance opportunities to at-risk youth in Toronto's urban elementary schools. In its first year, the program accomodated 30 students in two schools, and by 2011 it had reached 300 students in 15 schools. The Hammer Band has been featured in concert with the Rotterdam Philharmonic at Roy Thomson Hall (February 2010) and has been profiled on TVOntario and CBC.
Miniatures. Alexis Contant - Hector Gratton - Calixa Lavallée. Moshe Hammer violin, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi cello, William Tritt piano. 1992. Musica Viva MVCD 1043
Dances and Romances for Violin. Bach - Bloch - de Falla. Moshe Hammer violin, Valerie Tyron piano, William Beauvais guitar. 1994. CBC Records MVCD1071
Saint-Saëns - Sarasate - Kabalevsky. Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Moshe Hammer violin, Kazuhiro Koizumi conductor. 1997. CBC Records
The Galaxy Trio. Moshe Hammer violin, Lenny Solomon violin, Bernie Senensky piano. Marquis Classics MAR 225
Brown, Louise. "Violins help kids change their tune," Toronto Star, 5 May 2011