“Dimitri Ashkenazy’s playing produces what might be the most human sound a clarinet can make.”
He was born in 1969 in New York as one of the children of … yes, you guessed it … and spent his early childhood living in his mother’s homeland, Iceland, before his parents moved the whole family to Switzerland, where he still lives.
He has kept his Icelandic passport, but officially renounced his U.S. birthright in 2012. Among the most universal musicians, he has jetted around the globe for over twenty years: He has a large solo repertoire, is a highly appreciated chamber musician and – a rarity among the latter – occasionally and with palpable joy fills in with well-or lesser-known orchestras, thus staying close to the symphonic repertoire he loves and absorbed as a young man in the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and other renowned ensembles.
But Dimitri Ashkenazy (or “Dimka”, as his friends call him) is not just an educated musician – he is, and above all, an educated human being. He is interested in history, current affairs, general knowledge, tennis, soccer, literature and art, speaks fluent English, German (as well as Swiss German), French, Italian and Spanish, and can get by in Icelandic and Norwegian (this last thanks to his two sons, who are half Norwegian). He also reads in all these languages, is a committed vegetarian and a passionate cyclist.
The list of musicians whom Dimitri Ashkenazy has partnered as a chamber musician reads like a “Who’s Who” of today’s music business, but it must be pointed out that he is one of the most modest musicians around – simply because he has no need for any form of vanity. Dimitri Ashkenazy’s playing is something special, authentic, and convincing. His music comes from deep within and touches his audiences equally profoundly.