With an all-encompassing technique, deft interpretive sense, and broad repertory, Sharon Kam has established herself as one of the foremost clarinetists of her generation. Like many wunderkind instrumentalists, she made her major orchestral debut in her teens (at 16, with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic), won a major competition in her early twenties and became a recording star and international celebrity before she was 30. While she plays many of the standards by Mozart, Weber, Krommer, Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, and others, she is willing to take chances with contemporary works like Penderecki's concerto (of which she made the premiere recording in 1999), and totally unknown works like the concerto by Mendelssohn contemporary Julius Rietz, which she rediscovered and recorded to great acclaim. Based in Germany, Kam regularly appears in concert and at major festivals in Europe and the Americas. Her recordings are available on Teldec, Berlin Classics, Warner Classics, Sony, Arthaus Musik, Euroarts, and other major labels.
Sharon Kam was born in Israel in 1972. She comes from a musical family: her mother is Rachel Kam, longtime violist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and her brother is Ori Kam, concert violist. Music-making has also extended into Kam's marriage: her husband is German conductor Gregor Bühl, with whom she has concertized and recorded.
After playing violin and piano in her early childhood, Kam took up the clarinet and became a pupil of Eli Eban and Chaim Taub. She later studied under Charles Neidich at Juilliard.
After establishing a concert career in Israel in her teens, Kam was nominated for a Davidoff Prize in 1991, and then won the 1992 ARD Music Competition in Munich. She began recording for Teldec in the mid-'90s. Her album containing the Weber concertos and Grand Duo was awarded an Echo Klassik Prize in 1998. She would receive a second one in 2006 for her recording of works by Spohr, Mendelssohn, Weber, and Rossini, on Berlin Classics.
In between she appeared on several other popular recordings, made her debut at the 2003 Salzburg Festival and regularly appeared at other major concert venues across Europe and the Americas. She has collaborated in chamber repertory with some of the leading artists of the day, as well, including Christian Tetzlaff, Heinrich Schiff, and Lars Vogt. Among her later recordings is the 2009 Berlin Classics CD of Brahms sonatas and trios, with pianist Martin Helmchen and cellist Gustav Rivinius.