Avishai Darash is an Israeli-born, Amsterdam-based pianist, composer, arranger, record producer, and musical director known for his unique fusion of musical styles, drawing inspiration from North African traditional music, Western classical music, American jazz, and Israeli folk, among others. His distinctive sound has firmly established him on the international music scene.
Avishai's passion for music ignited during his early years, nurtured by his supportive family. At just 16, he attended his first jazz concert, a transformative experience that led him to embark on a lifelong musical journey. He commenced piano lessons under the tutelage of composer and pianist Ittai Rosenbaum, solidifying his commitment to a musical career.
Between 2008 and 2010, Avishai pursued a Bachelor's degree program at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance, guided by esteemed mentors such as Erez Barnoy, Ilan Mochiach, and Ittai Rosenbaum. During this period, he ventured to New York City, where he honed his skills under the mentorship of George Cables and Bob Cranshaw.
In late 2010, Avishai made the pivotal move to the Netherlands after securing admission to the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam. His time at the institution opened doors to a rich network of contacts in the city, which he later incorporated into various productions he led.
From 2012 to 2017, Avishai collaborated closely with the Dutch/Moroccan oud virtuoso, Mohamed Ahaddaf, serving as his pianist and arranger. Together, they embarked on extensive tours across Northern Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia, releasing two acclaimed albums, "Spoken Soul" and "Seasons."
Avishai's debut album, "Impermanence," showcased rising talents from the international jazz scene, featuring Ofri Nehemya on drums and Avri Borochov on bass, complemented by a string quartet from the award-winning Dutch orchestra "Metropole Orkest."
In 2018, Avishai unveiled "Nomadic Treasures," a European-based collective of musicians under the Italian label A.MA Edizioni. The project garnered praise, followed by his second album with the label, "SAMSKARA," released in May 2019, which received critical acclaim.
In 2020, Avishai assumed the prestigious role of artistic director, primary arranger, composer, and pianist for the Marmoucha Orchestra. Under his leadership, the orchestra produced nine successful studio albums, collaborating with renowned artists like Mehdi Nassouli, Ahmed Chawki, Abir El Abed, Naoufal Farouki, and Issam Sarhan. The orchestra's diversity and creativity earned support from the national performing arts of the Netherlands and Amsterdam's regional funds, making it a prominent and multifaceted ensemble.
In 2021, Avishai joined the pioneering program MusicalMakers, which focuses on redefining musicals in the Netherlands. This marked him as a prominent composer in both the interdisciplinary music and theater scenes.
Avishai's latest album, "Andalusian Love Song," released with the support of the Marmoucha Foundation and SENA production funds, has been lauded as his finest work to date. Featuring a diverse ensemble of 16 musicians from jazz, pop, classical, and Arabic music backgrounds, the album showcases his musical versatility.
Between 2017 and 2019, Avishai served as the pianist and arranger for Amsterdam's Andalusian Orchestra, creating the successful piece "ZIEL/ROUH" in collaboration with the dance company ICK.
Avishai's performances have graced prestigious venues worldwide, including the Bimhuis and Het Concertgebouw in the Netherlands, the International Ud Festival in Jerusalem, McGill University of the Arts in Canada, De Centrale in Belgium, and numerous international festivals. His talent has been recognized through awards such as the "All-around Jazz-Rome Ensemble" (2nd place), the Richard Lupien MIMC for Classical Improvisation (Finalist - 2014), and the Leiden Jazz Award (Best Soloist).
In addition to his diverse musical projects, Avishai is dedicated to nurturing and coaching young musicians on their journey to mastering the piano and navigating the music industry.