Miri Ben-Ari (Hebrew: מירי בן-ארי) (born December 4, 1978 in Ramat Gan, Israel) is an Israeli-born American violinist. She currently resides in the United States.
Ben-Ari grew up playing classical music; she started training at age 5 and at age 12, she was presented with a violin by Isaac Stern. During her mandatory Israeli military service, she was chosen to play for the Israeli Army String Quartet. During her stint in the Israeli military, she heard an album by Charlie Parker and immediately fell in love with jazz; she later said "My soul was sold." Following her service, she moved from Israel to New York in hopes of using her classical training on stage and attended the Jazz department at The New School, but was expelled after two semesters due to poor attendance caused by Ben-Ari playing gigs to pay the rent.
She released her first solo CD Sahara in 1999.
Her persistence earned her an appearance on BET's 106 & Park; the viewer response netted her a return visit a few weeks later. Her performances caught the eye of Jay-Z, who invited her to play as one of the headliners of New York radio station Hot 97's annual Summer Jam concert in 2001, where she netted a standing ovation. Around the same time, a mutual friend introduced Ben-Ari to Wyclef Jean, who invited her to perform with him at his Carnegie Hall show, the first by a hip-hop artist at the venue.
In 2003, she released her second CD Temple of Beautiful, and followed that up with a live CD the following year entitled Live at the Blue Note.
She won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song in 2005 as one of the co-writers of Kanye West's Jesus Walks. In 2005, she released her fourth CD and first to focus on hip-hop style, entitled The Hip-Hop Violinist. As part of the promotion for it, she was part of Reebok's "I Am What I Am" global advertising campaign; Reebok was also part of the video for the first single from the CD, "We Gonna Win".
In 2006, she co-founded Gedenk (Yiddish for "remember"), an organization dedicated to promoting education about the Holocaust in the United States.
In 2007 she received the International Jewish Woman To Watch of 2007 Award and in 2008 she received the “2008 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award,” "The Jewish Federation" award and "the American Society for Yad Vashem" Award.
In 2009, she released Symphony of Brotherhood, an instrumental track featuring Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. In part due to the song, she received the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Israeli Award in January 2008 at a ceremony hosted by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres.
In March 2011 Ben-Ari was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama as part of a Women's History Month celebration, to perform and to be honored as a "remarkabe Woman". In July 2011 she performed at the 2011 Miss Universe China pageant. and in October 2011 she performed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Presidential memorial dedication in Washington, DC.
In 2011, she was named by Ynet as one of the 10 most influential Israelis in America.
In 2012, Ben-Ari was invited to perform for U.S. President Barack Obama
In 2013 she was appointed as “Goodwill Ambassador of Music” at the United Nations Association-Brazil.
In 2013 she participated as a guest musician in recording a track Intense together with Armin Van Buuren. The track is the first track of the new album Intense, performed by Armin Van Buuren in May 2013.
Miri Ben-Ari is signed with the Harman Kardon brand as a Beautiful Sound artist to be featured globally in advertisements and in special appearances as an ambassador for the Harman Kardon “Beautiful Sound” brand campaign.
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- ^ a b Reid, Shaheem (2004-03-01). "Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Enlists Mya, Fabolous, Kanye West For Hip-Hop Debut". mtv.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ a b c Leichman, Abigail Klein (2011-06-28). "Miri Ben-Ari: Hip-hop violinist and humanitarian". israel21c.org. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ a b c Khazzoom, Loolwa (2005-09-23). "Kanye West Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Debuts". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ a b Grapham, Renee (2005-10-02). "Violinist has the hip-hop world on a string". The Boston Globe. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ a b Rogovoy, Seth (2000-11-03). "Miri Ben-Ari". berkshireweb.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ Sommer, Allison Kaplan (2011-04-15). "Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari: A Role Model for Our Daughters". Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ Gonshor, Adam (2004-04-22). "Violin is the Voice of Miri Ben-Ari | andPOP.com". andpop.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ "Rap News Network - Hip-Hop News: Hip Hop Violinist Wins Grammy". rapnews.net. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- ^ "Reebok and Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Make Beautiful Music Together with First-of-its Kind Partnership" (Press release). Reebok. 2005-08-25. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- ^ Perez, Daniel (2011-04-01). "Yad Vashim Young Leadership Hosts Gala in Support of Holocaust Awareness" (PDF). The Jewish Voice. p. 17. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- ^ "Miri Ben-Ari Receives Martin Luther King Jr. Award". jewishsantabarbara.org. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- ^ "ynet 100 הישראלים המובילים באמריקה - ידיעות אמריקה". ynet.co.il (in Hebrew). 2011-07-18. Retrieved 19 July 2011.