Amir Gwirtzman is a musician hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel known for his mastery of reed and woodwind instruments from around the globe. He was a member of the Israeli band Esta for more than 20 years, touring internationally and performing on notable stages including New York City’s Blue Note, Los Angeles’ House of Blues, Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and WOMAD (World Music Festival) in Italy. Esta performed at the White House for President Bill Clinton in honor of Israel’s 50th Anniversary.
In November 2009, Amir began his solo project Inhale-Exhale, performing alone on a stage surrounded by more than twenty reed and woodwind instruments. These included the saxophone family, clarinets, Scottish Highland bagpipes, Egyptian argul, Middle Eastern ney, Armenian duduk, pan-Asian zorna, and flutes spanning the globe from Native American to Irish to Vietnamese cultures. Orchestrating these instruments together to make a multi-cultural musical tapestry, Amir creates a metaphor for our globalized world – bringing different cultures together to make an exciting, multi-layered whole.
He has presented Inhale-Exhale in his home city of Tel Aviv, in Manila as a part of the Philippines International Jazz & Arts Festival in 2009, and across the American South as a Visiting Artist of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation in 2010. During the prestigious Visiting Artist program, Amir performed Inhale-Exhale at Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi (B.B. King’s hometown), and at the Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as concerts, master classes, workshops, and lecture/demonstrations at many universities, K-12 schools, community centers, churches, and temples.
In June 2010, Amir performed three concerts at the Universities of Lima & Trujillo in Peru. In November 2010, he released his debut solo album Inhale-Exhale to a packed house at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Following the release, Amir traveled to Chengdu,China for three solo concerts. In 2011, Amir was invited by the Schusterman Family Foundation to tour the American South again due to the success of the 2010 tour and the high demand for his return. His 2011 tour culminated with a show in New York City and a distribution contract with Virtual Records in the United States. Since then, Amir has performed Inhale-Exhale in Armenia,Poland,Croatia,Hungary, at the Bansko International Jazz Festival in Bulgaria, at Joe’s Pub in New York City, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington,D.C.
Amir’s unique sound has been influenced by a career that has taken him from Israel to the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. He draws inspiration from the rich rhythms of Cuban jazz, earthy R&B melodies of Ray Charles, soaring jazz riffs of Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, energetic melodies of Jewish Klezmer, and cheerful yet melancholy harmonies of Irish Celtic music. He also is inspired by sounds of the Middle East, Gypsy communities,Armenia, Native American cultures, and New Orleans.
Amir constructs an ensemble sound for most of his songs, instantly recording one instrumental part atop another until the music crescendos into a propulsive blend of rhythm, melody and harmony. Take his original song Kalimba Gigi, for example – a playful conversation between the African kalimba, Irish low whistle and penny whistle, Korean piri, Middle Eastern ney, Chinese flute, Vietnamese Sapa flute, Armenian duduk, and African vuvuzelas that embodies the complexity of Amir’s musical technique and ability. This song and all others on Inhale-Exhale showcase the remarkable talent, creativity, and stamina of world-renowned musician Amir Gwirtzman.
In May of 2017, Amir had the honor to be endorsed by the distinguished P. Mauriat Saxophone company.