Jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader, and educator Yuval Amihai was born in Beer Sheva, Israel. He started learning piano at the age of 8 and switched to the electric guitar at 13. By the age of 16, he was playing professionally around the country and leading several bands.
At the age of 19, during his mandatory service in the Israeli army, Yuval found great inspiration in classical guitar music and composed his first chamber music piece, learning from records and books during his writing process. The finished result, an 8-minute piece for guitar, piano and a string quartet was selected to be featured in a series of concerts by the city of Beer Shava’s municipal symphonic orchestra, dedicated to music by young composers from the southern region of Israel, the Negev. Yuval performed his piece on classical guitar along with the city’s string quartet in several venues around Israel. Following his participation in this project, Yuval was commissioned to compose another original piece for the city’s quartet, led this time by renowned Oud player and violinist Yair Dalal. Yuval spent the following years focusing mainly on studying classical music (composition, piano and guitar), in part in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Rimon School of Music, where he was also a finalist in the school’s Jazz player competition, and with some of Israel’s best private teachers.
In 2006, Yuval moved to Paris, France and quickly became a leading figure in the local jazz scene. He soon formed his quintet, the Yuval Amihai Ensemble, and won two of the most prestigious jazz competitions in France - the Jazz at Saint-Germain Competition, where he won the First Prize (Best Ensemble) and the National Jazz Competition of La Defense, where he won the Grand Prize (Best Ensemble) and Best Composer Prize. The band also won the third prize at the Hoeilaart International Jazz Competition in Belgium.
In the following years, Yuval went on performing regularly with his band in many of Paris’ most famous jazz clubs and venues, throughout France and other countries in Europe. In 2012 he released his first album, YUVAL AMIHAI ENSEMBLE, featuring mostly his original compositions, strongly echoing the sounds and culture he absorbed growing up in Israel. Following the release, Yuval won a full grant from the French Copyright Organization, Sacem.
In the following years, inspired both by his frequent trips to New York City and by his longtime love to the great jazz piano trios (namely those led by Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau), Yuval formed his trio and released two more albums as a bandleader – LONGING in 2015, and I AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’ BUT THE BLUES in 2018, which was released under the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent. All three albums were acclaimed by critics and were featured in local, national and international radio playlists, newspapers, jazz magazines and websites.
In 2018, Yuval relocatded for the second time and moved New York City. Once again, soon after his arrival he became highly involved in the local jazz scene and started to perform regularly in some of the city’s great jazz clubs and venues, sharing the stage with many of the scene's top musicians.