Absolute commando over the instrument, profound knowledge of music and impeccable taste”
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
“His performances are of an extremely high standard, both technically and musically. He has stunning ability to get a divinely warm and beautiful sound out of the instrument” –Alun Francis, conductor
Iakov Zats was born in Moscow and attended the Institute for child prodigies at the Moscow Conservatory of Music where he then completed his bachelor’s and doctorate in string quartet performance. In 1990 he began his solo career, soloing with chamber music ensembles in Russia, England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States.
In 1994 he left Russia and moved to Italy where he regularly appeared as a soloist in concert seasons with orchestras such as Cantelli di Milano, Sinfonica Siciliana di Palermo, Fondazione Arena di Verona and others.
In 2000 Claudio Abbado invited him to join the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In 2011 he worked as principal viola in two European tours with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. From 2006 to 2020 he held the position of Principal Viola of the Arena di Verona Foundation.
In 2006 he edited Ysaye's Sonata op.28, curating the first edition for viola solo, published by White Prince Edition. This Sonata has become one of the most virtuosic pieces of viola repertoire. For the same publishing house, he edited a version of Schumann's Drei Romanzen op.94 for viola and piano, which was recently presented at London's Kingsplace.
Zats is currently professor of Viola at the Nicolini Conservatory of Piacenza and Donizetti Conservatory of Bergamo, and he has been invited to conduct masterclasses in Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, and Croatia.
Since 2018 he has been the principal conductor of the orchestra of Università degli studi Milano-Bicocca.