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B i o g r a p h y

One of Israel’s most outstanding pianists, Semmel’s international career has taken her to the world’s most prestigious halls where she performed to public and critical acclaim. Hailed as a “wonderful pianist” with “absolute devotion to the music”, “admirable technique” (Globes) and “unstoppable energy and personality” (timesunionPLUS), her performances have been described as “gripping from beginning to end” (The Jerusalem Post). 


Semmel has performed extensively as a soloist with orchestras, recitalist and chamber musician at such prestigious halls as Carnegie Hall, Musikverein Vienna, Konzerthaus Berlin, Beethoven-haus Bonn, Merkin Hall, Steinway Hall, Shriver Hall, Lincoln Center, the Jerusalem Theater, Tel-Aviv Museum and many more. First prize winner of several competitions, Semmel has been personally invited by Sir András Schiff to play recitals at central venues throughout Europe as part of his “Building Bridges” series. She has participated in international festivals such as Ravinia, Music@Menlo, IMS Prussia Cove, IMS Open Chamber Music, Menuhin Festival, Mänttä Piano Festival, Finland and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, New-York.


An avid chamber musician, Semmel cofounded the Jerusalem Piano Duo together with her brother, pianist Dror Semmel. She has collaborated with such artists as Gilbert Kalish, Colin Carr, Isabel Leonard, Hagai Shaham, Zvi Plesser, Noam Buchmann, members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. As a former member of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW, she performed regularly at Carnegie Hall among other venues, and worked to engage with the community and enhance music education throughout New York. 

In addition to her busy performance schedule, Semmel is a sought-after pedagogue. Her students win top prizes and perform regularly in Israel and abroad. She is on the faculty of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the Israel Conservatory of Music, Tel-Aviv, and the JAMD Conservatory. She has also taught in universities in the US, has given master classes in Israel, Europe and the US, and led workshops at the Juilliard School, New York. She serves on the jury of Israel’s top competitions and collaborates frequently with the Jerusalem Music Center (president: Murry Perahia) as a faculty member of its programs for outstanding young musicians. 

Born in Jerusalem, Semmel studied with Lena Nemirosky-Wiskind. She graduated summa cum laude from the Jerusalem Music Academy as a student of Alexander Tamir and Asaf Zohar. She completed her Master of Music degree with honors at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music where she studied with Emanuel Krasovsky. She spent four years at the Peabody Institute as a student of Leon Fleisher, and completed her DMA at SUNY Stony Brook under the tutelage of Gilbert Kalish. She has also worked with Sir András Schiff, Murray Perahia and Richard Goode.

Shir Semmel Pianist
Photo: Tatiana Megevand & Kelly de Geer, Classeek
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