Outstanding Israeli violinist dies at 52

Outstanding Israeli violinist dies at 52


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2020

The string world has been shocked by the sudden death of Yehonatan Berick, a 1993 Naumburg finalist and sought-after teacher at the universities of Michigan and Ottawa. He died of a rapid cancer after three weeks in hospital.

Originally from Holon, he was spotted by Isaac Stern and studied with Dorothy DeLay. Living in Ottawa, for the past decade he played in the AYR Trio with Angela Park (piano) and his partner Rachel Mercer, principal cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

He held the title Professor of Violin at the University of Ottawa.

May his memory be blessed.


  • Beinisch says:

    A very very good violinist and a very fine person.
    So sad to lose such a man.
    Condolences to his family.

  • Michael Klotz says:

    Yehonatan’s untimely passing is a tragic loss. All of us who knew him admired him for his larger than life hilarious personality, musical integrity, brilliant instrumental facility, and dedicated pedagogy.
    Yehonatan studied with DeLay at Cincinnati Consevatory and also with Henry Meyer, the late second violinist of the LaSalle Quartet. He was one of the last pupils of Ilona Feher, the legendary teacher of Zukerman, Ashkenasi, Mintz, Hagai Shaham, and many other terrific violinists. Yehonatan was a one of a kind and so loved by those who knew him. My deepest condolences to his family. This is a tough one.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I do find it disturbing to read things like this; so much to live for and cut down in the prime. Life IS cruel and ‘capricious’. Just awful.

  • Inbal Segev says:

    Tragic loss, so sad to hear that. He was a wonderful violinist and human being.

  • Gila Goldstein says:

    What a tragedy. Difficult to comprehend. An incredible violinist and musician, smart and funny and a warm person, many memories… May he Rest in Peace. I send my deep condolences to his family in Israel and in Canada.

  • MacroV says:

    He also taught at McGill University for a while – among his students there was current Toronto (and former Montreal) Concertmaster Jonathan Crow and probably several other OSM violinists, among others.

  • kathy murdock says:

    Such a shock, and such a very sad loss… Yehonaton was our violinist with Los Angeles Piano Quartet for three years starting in 2010, and a dear colleague and friend. He was a beautiful violinist and poured his heart out for each and every performance. His brilliant mind and his lightning quick wit had us doubled over in laughter ay many points in our rehearsals. He was and always will be larger than life, a fabulous musician with the biggest heart around. Sending love and condolences at this sad time to Rachel and his children.

  • Sharon says:

    May his family find peace

  • Fiddlist says:

    He taught at McGill University for many years too.

  • Best violin teacher many of his students had and will have, caring and real sincere human being who made real difference in people’s lives on the stage and while teaching around the world and in Canada. Thousands will remember and keep his legacy going because he invested real heart in every single person he taught. Rear violin mentor died too yearly and we will never recover from this loss. RIP, dear Professor! I will never give up on music and violin in this crazy world and do what you taught me: keep performing and ..whatever is going on around in my life …. GO PRACTICE!!! Love and peace!

  • NYCgirl says:

    I was so sorry to read this. Yehonatan was a very sweet and very funny guy as well as a wonderful musician. I am sad to be describing him in the past tense. My condolences to his family.

  • Hagai Shaham says:

    Very sad and tragic. Too early loss of such a gifted person, violinist, musician, a friend… We were classmates during the last years of our teacher, Ilona Feher, until her passing in 1988. We studied together chamber music at the Jerusalem Music Centre, served and performed together at the IDF musician’s program, sharing so many wonderful moments. My deepest condolences to his family in Canada and in Israel. His vital, witty and optimistic personality will stay long in the memory of his many students, colleagues and friends.