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. In 2019 Marc created the Kâsteaux chamber music festival in Belgium and is currently the artistic director of the festival. As of September 2017, Marc is a viola 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 2013 Amsterdam National Viola Competition, 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. Marc has played numerous concerti with international orchestras such as the Belgian National Orchestra, Casco Philharmonic, de Filharmonie Amsterdam, Camerato Rousseau, the Hochreinisches Kammerorchester and the Bogotá Symphony Orchestra. Marc Sabbah is creating a path as a musical force in 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. The duo has just released its latest disc titled 'AppassionAlto' under the label, Prospero Classical. The album has received praise from the STRAD magazine and other publications. As a founding member and violist of the string Trio NOMADA, Marc plays along side the principal cellist of the London Symphony Orchestra, David Cohen and violinist and professor in Mannheim, Noé Inui. 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, In Mexico and Colombia, Marc is deeply involved in teaching and communicating his love of music to both young artists and publics alike.
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 Bijlsma, 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 Ukrainian State Orchestra.
At only the age of 18 Marc premiered new works at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall as former violist of the Kubrick-Quartet and as principal violist of the Deutche-Skandinaviche Jugend Philharmonie as well as substituting with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (DeFilharmonie) in Antwerp, Belgium.
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.