Gil Shaham was born in 1971 in Illinois, USA, and came to Israel when he was two. He studied at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy with Shmuel Bernstein, and with Chaim Taub; with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellerman at Aspen; with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang at Juilliard and at Columbia University.
He made his debut in 1981, at the age of ten, with the Jerusalem Symphony and Alexander Schneider. His Israel Philharmonic Orchestra debut was in 1982 under Zubin Mehta, and that same year he won the Claremont Award. He has since appeared with the IPO in many concerts in Israel and abroad.
Gil Shaham has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras, among them the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, La Scala Orchestra, RAI Symphony and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. He also gives recitals throughout Europe, America and Japan, and has made many recordings.
In 1990 he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.
He plays a 1699 Stradivarius named after Countess Polignac, who was reputedly the French mistress of Benjamin Franklin while he was America's first ambassador to France.