Izhar Elias' (Amsterdam, 1977) narrative and poetic style and his groundbreaking programming have brought him worldwide fame. His versatility as a guitarist is reflected in his deepening of historical performance practice (baroque and early 19th century), chamber music and contemporary music combined with multimedia.
In 2011 he received the prestigious Dutch Music Prize, as the first guitarist in the history of the prize. The Dutch Music Prize is the highest state award that can be awarded to a musician working in classical music. After performing Joaquín Rodrigo's famous Concierto de Aranjuez with the Residentie Orchestra (March 2011), De Telegraaf praised his playing with: "The power of his compelling and clear subtleties overcame." Izhar Elias won several prizes at various national and international competitions. Elias gave numerous concerts in Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia and Australia.
In June 2009 he released a world premiere recording with early 19th century arrangements of Rossini's opera 'Semiramide', played on his unique Guadagnini guitar from 1812. 'Elias does with decorations and all, not inferior to any diva,' according to Peter van der Lint from Dagblad Trouw following this double CD. Elias regularly collaborates with composers, choreographers, filmmakers and theater directors. His innovative CD plus DVD 'Big Eye' was praised in Gramophone with the words 'Wacky, irreverent and thought-provoking'. With Ensemble Cordevento, which focuses primarily on repertoire from the 17th century, Elias is regularly on tour in the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, and Bulgaria. For the 2011-2012 season, Cordevento was included in the "Rising Stars" series, with performances in Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna, Brussels, and Luxembourg, among others.
Izhar Elias received guitar lessons from Ton Terra at the Muziekschool Amstelveen from the age of seven. He studied at the conservatories of Groningen and The Hague, with the Groningen Guitar Duo and with Zoran Dukic. In 2002 he finished his master's degree with a 9.5 with distinction and the Nicolaï prize. Elias studied at the 'Accademia di Studi Superiori l'Ottocento' with Carlo Barone in Italy (performance practice of 19th-century music). He studied baroque guitar with William Carter and Adrián Rodriguez van der Spoel. He received interpretation lessons from the violinist Kees Hendrikse. Izhar Elias has, among other things, an original guitar from 1812 (C. Guadagnini, Turin), the acquisition of which was made possible in part by the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund.