Tracy Silverman

Guest Artist

Tracy Silverman, electric violin
Lauded by the BBC Radio as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin,” Tracy Silverman’s groundbreaking work with the 6-string electric violin defies musical boundaries. Formerly first violinist with the innovative Turtle Island String Quartet, Silverman was named one of 100 distinguished alumni by The Juilliard School. The world's foremost concert electric violinist, Silverman has contributed significantly to the repertoire and development of the 6-string electric violin and the non-classical stylistic approach he calls “21st century violin playing,” inspiring several major concertos composed specifically for him, including Pulitzer winner John Adams’ “The Dharma at Big Sur,” premiered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the gala opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003 and recorded with the BBC Symphony on Nonesuch Records with Adams conducting; legendary “Father of Minimalism” Terry Riley’s “The Palmian Chord Ryddle”, premiered by Silverman with the Nashville Symphony in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and recorded by Naxos Records; and Kenji Bunch’s “Embrace” concerto, co-commissioned by nine orchestras and premiered by Silverman in 2013.
Shortly after graduating in 1980, Silverman built one of the first-ever 6-string electric violins. Silverman’s eclectic career has included appearances with the Detroit Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Adelaide Festival Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival, conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marin Alsop, Neeme Jarvi among many others, as well as recording with the rock band Guster, contemporary music’s Paul Dresher Ensemble, jazz legend Billy Taylor and most recently on his new Delos/Naxos CD, “Between the Kiss and the Chaos”, with the acclaimed Calder Quartet.
In the liner notes to “The Dharma at Big Sur,” Adams writes, “Tracy has developed his own unique style of violin playing—a marvel of expressiveness.” The Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein wrote of Silverman’s “blazing virtuosity,” and Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, raved, "Fleet agility and tangy expressivity with wailing hints of Jimi Hendrix."
Tracy has appeared on numerous national TV and radio programs, including NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, Performance Today, St. Paul Sunday, and A Prairie Home Companion, and has been profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. A busy composer, 2015-2016 includes performances of Silverman’s 2nd electric violin concerto, a return to Carnegie Hall to premiere Nico Muhly’s “Seeing Is Believing” with the American Symphony, as well as the publication of his instructional method “Strum Bowing,” already in use throughout the world. Silverman is an in-demand clinician and on faculty at Belmont University in Nashville.