Country: Israel Period: 20th/21st Centuries
Israeli flute virtuoso Sharon Bezaly began to study the instrument at age 11 and at age 14 made her debut with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. Following advice from Jean-Pierre Rampal, Bezaly studied in France with Maurice Bourgue, Raymond Guiot, Alain Marion, and Aurèle Nicolet. Bezaly then joined the Camerata Academica Salzburg as principal flute on the invitation of Sandor Végh. When Végh died in 1997, Bezaly decided to pursue a career as soloist, an unconventional career choice as so few flutists find success at it. However, this turned out to be a good choice for Bezaly; as a member of Gidon Kremer's group KREMERata BALTICA, she first recorded for the Swedish label BIS in 1997, and in the following year BIS issued her first solo disc, The Israeli Connection. Eventually her BIS catalog would grow to more than 20 CDs, which helped Bezaly establish herself in the concert world as a soloist. At first Bezaly's popularity took hold in France, but she has since built a following in the Far East, the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Middle Europe, as well. Bezaly decries the poor showing that nineteenth century composers had shown in producing repertoire for the flute and has commissioned a number of works from twenty-first century composers to help make up the difference. A couple of Bezaly's commissions have caught on, including the Flute Concerto of Kalevi Aho and another written by Sofia Gubaidulina in memory of her own daughter. Bezaly has also commissioned original works from Sally Beamish, Ge Gan-Ru, George Flynn, Zhou Long, Mari Takano, and Anders Hillborg. Bezaly plays a 24-carat gold flute made for her by Muramatsu of Japan; she is also married to the head of BIS, Robert von Bahr.