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'New York born Marc Sabbah, viola, today Professor in Belgium, made clear with the solo "Capriccio" by H. Vieuxtemps, why he is called "The Paganini of viola". He liberates the instrument from the image of longevity.' - RP-online.de
Marc Sabbah (1988, New York City) is a viola soloist, chamber musician, professor and as of 2012, the viola soloist of the Belgian National Orchestra.
Described as"a magnificent player" by legendary conductor Zubin Mehta, Marc is regularly invited as guest Principal Violist of the Israeli Philharmonic. As of September 2017, he has been teaching viola as a professor at the Royal Conservatory of Mons, Belgium. Graduating Cum Laude from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Marc was a pupil of Sven Arne Tepl and Nobuko Imai. His recent awards include the 1st prize at the 2016 Rising Stars Grand Prix music competition performing solo at the Berlin Philharmonic hall as well as his recent 1st Grand Prize at the Manhattan International Music Competition with a recital at Carnegie Hall. Having played numerous concerti with European orchestras such as the Belgian National Orchestra, Casco Philharmonic, de Filharmonie Amsterdam, the Hochreinisches Kammerorchester, Marc Sabbah is creating a path as a musical force of his generation.
Since 2016, Marc is collaborating with Belgian pianist Eliane Reyes forming the Duo Sabbah-Reyes, a unique duo dedicated to exploring viola and piano repertoire. Marc is establishing himself as a pre-eminent young violist with performances at the Delft Chamber Music Festival, Utrecht Chamber Music Festival, Grachten Festival Amsterdam, ArteAmanti, Festival van Vlaanderen, Les Sons Intensifs in Belgium, as well as festivals Arcidosso and Les Nuits Romantiques in Italy.Giving masterclasses in association with the Dutch Viola Society, the Brussels Chamber Music Festival and the Athens State Orchestra, Marc is deeply involved in teaching and communicating his love of music to both young artists and publics alike. Marc is the founder and musical director of the Kâsteaux chamber music festival held in Belgium.
In 2011, Marc Sabbah performed with Ivry Gitlis at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. Since then, Ivry Gitlis attended Marc's performance of the Leo Smit viola concerto at the Royal Conservatory of Mons calling Marc 'The Paganini of viola'.
His pursuit of music led him to study with great performers like Pinchas Zukerman, Lawrence Power, Kim Kashkashian, baroque cellist Anner Bylsma, Nobuko Imai and others. Marc has performed and attended festivals throughout Europe, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Canada. Marc has won top prizes at the Moscow Arts Competition in Boston, the Horowitz International Competition and Academy in Kiev, Ukraine, (2004) performing Hoffmeister concerto for viola and orchestra as well as Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with the Ukranian State Orchestra.
Marc began his studies on violin at the age of 3 at the 3rd Street Music School in Manhattan, furthering his studies at the Lucy Moses School with teacher Mark Lakirovich. Mesmerized by the warmth of its tone and in admiration of his sister's cello playing, Marc switched to the viola at age 11. He completed his studies in the United States as a graduate of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High school of Performing Arts and the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School.
Since 2020, Marc is an ambassador for Jargar Strings . Marc plays on a Leroy F. Geiger viola dated 1951 made in Chicago, USA.
'Capriccio' Hommage à Paganini
by Henri Vieuxtemps