Gabriel Bolkosky has performed and taught across the United States and abroad. He performs a diverse repertoire of classical and contemporary works, collaborating with different artists from many genres of music making. Over the last decade, Gabe has founded and directed the music festival, PhoenixPhest with the intent of creating an environment open to all levels and ages of musicians, creating a more holistic musical experience without sacrificing quality.
Gabe’s performances have focused in the areas of contemporary music, jazz and tango as well as traditional classical music. He has collaborated with many composers, among them Fredric Rzewski, William Bolcom, John Harbison, Thomas Ades, Bright Sheng, William Albright, Andrew Kirshner, Lars Holmer, Carter Pann, Michael Daugherty, George Tsontakis, Derek Bermel, and Bernard Rands.
As a jazz and tango musician, Gabe has worked with great artists such as John Lindberg, Peter Soave, Tad Weed, Ed Sarath, Chris Howes, Andy Bishop, and is a founding member of The Oblivion Project.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Gabe began his violin studies at age three. His primary teachers were Michael Avsharian of Ann Arbor, Paul Kantor at the University of Michigan, and Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Gabe earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance and a master’s degree in chamber music, as well as studying improvisation at the master’s level, at the University of Michigan. At the Cleveland Institute he earned a Professional Studies degree, served a year as Professor Weilerstein’s teaching assistant and won the school’s prestigious Darius Milhaud prize. He attended the Aspen Music Festival from 1991–98 on fellowship, first playing with the Aspen Chamber Symphony and then the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble for four years. During those four years he premiered hundreds of new works, and with his group, Non Sequitur, conducted workshops and concerts for thousands of students in the Aspen valley as well as at schools such as Harvard, Dartmouth, Brandeis and Princeton.
Gabe has released seven CDs that show his breadth as a musician. His debut solo album, This and That, features classical and jazz music. Other albums include The Shape of Klez to Come with the klezmer group Into the Freylakh; The Orchestra Is Here to Play, a live recording teaming the Gemini children’s-music group with a full orchestra; The Oblivion Project Live, showcasing the music of Astor Piazzolla; Non Sequitur, contemporary and experimental music, including one of his own compositions; Home from Work, an eclectic mix of jazz, folk and blues in collaboration with San Slomovits, and as sideman on John Lindberg’s recording Two by Five.
His most recent CD is Bonne Nuit, which includes the Debussy Sonata and other small works for violin and piano with Michele Cooker, and can be found here.
Gabe was guest artist at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor teaching violin and chamber music for six years. He has worked with all ages of young musicians in most of the 50 states and parts of Asia. He is the executive director of The Phoenix Ensemble, a nonprofit organization dedicated to being a musical resource for artists and educational institutions. He still directs PhoenixPhest! and PhoenixPhest! Grande, two amateur chamber music festivals held each May and August, and maintains a private violin studio.