Avigail Bushakevitz is currently based in Berlin. Born in Israel, she grew up in South Africa where she studied with Jack de Wet. During the past seven years she has lived in Cape Town, New York, Tel Aviv and most recently Berlin. Commencing her studies with a B.Mus at UNISA she left Cape Town in 2007 for New York where she studied under Sylvia Rosenberg and Lewis Kaplan at the Juilliard School of Music graduating with a Bachelor of Music in 2010 and a Master of Music in 2012. At the Juilliard School she was also employed as teaching assistant in ear training, a position she held for three years. In Tel Aviv she studied with Hagai Shaham as an Artist Diploma student at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. She is pursuing further studies in Berlin at Academy of Music Hanns Eisler with Ulf Wallin.
She is the winner of numerous music competitions in South Africa, including first prize in the UNISA National Strings Competition 2009 and the SAMRO Foundations 2012 Overseas Scholarships Competition. She was awarded first prize in the UNO competition in Jerusalem in 2013. She was selected as the Young Artist Award Winner for Music, a prize awarded yearly in South Africa by Standard Bank, honouring young South African artists who have produced exceptional work in their respective fields of art.
Avigail has performed concerti by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Saint- Saëns, Mozart, Beethoven and Bruch, as well as Bach and Locatelli with a baroque ensemble, with all the major orchestras in South Africa and regularly gives recital tours in South Africa, performing with her brother Ammiel, a pianist. Their most recent tours include a double concerto with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, and extensive recitals and masterclasses right across the country. Together they won first prize in Concurs Internacional Paper de Música de Capellades 2014, with a recital tour of Catalonia in 2015 included in the prize. They have also recorded a set of Mozart's Violin and Piano Sonatas, available on CD. She is a member of the Brandenburg String Trio, based in Berlin, together with her husband, violist Ernst-Martin Schmidt, and cellist Andrea Casarrubios, recently touring Spain and South Africa. She is also a member of the Franz Trio, also based in Berlin, with Ernst-Martin Schmidt and cellist Constance Ricard.
In New York, Avigail participated in the Juilliard Chamberfest from 2008 to 2012, and attended the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado for the third time in the summer of 2010. Other summer festivals include The Heifetz International Music Institute (U.S.A.), Holland Music Sessions, London Master Classes and Keshet Eilon (Israel). She has received masterclasses from musicians such as Georgy Pauk, Pamela Frank, Shmuel Ashkenazy, Haim Taub and Julian Rachlin.
Avigail was concertmistress of the Britten-Pears Orchestra in Aldeburgh, England, in August 2011. In July 2012 she was concertmistress of the Aldeburgh World Orchestra, performing in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms in London under Sir Mark Elder. As a member of the Juilliard Orchestra, she performed several times in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. As concertmistress she has led several festival orchestras in South Africa and the Buchmann-Mehta Orchestra in Tel Aviv.
In 2012 she performed Sibelius Violin Concerto in Tel Aviv as soloist with the Buchmann-Mehta Orchestra. In Israel she played in the Israel Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel as conductor, and as concertmaster of the Buchmann-Mehta Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta. Early in 2014 she toured as a member of Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Spain and Abu Dhabi. Since January 2014 she has been a member of the 1st violins of the Konzerthausorchester in Berlin.