Miri Ben-Ari

Miri Ben-Ari

Miri Ben-Ari in 2004
Background information
Birth name Miri Ben-Ari
Also known as
  • United Nations Goodwill Ambassador of Music to The United Nations Associations of Brazil
  • The Hip Hop Violinist
Born (1978-12-04) December 4, 1978
Ramat Gan, Israel
Occupation(s) Violinist
Instruments Violin
Years active 1999–present
Labels Universal
Associated acts

Miri Ben-Ari (Hebrew: מירי בן-ארי; born December 4, 1978) is an Israeli-American violinist. She lives in New Jersey.

Life and career

Ben-Ari was born in Tel Aviv,[1] Israel. She grew up playing classical music;[2] she started training at age 5[3] and at age 12, she was presented with a violin by Isaac Stern.[4] During her mandatory Israeli military service, she was chosen to play for the Israeli Army String Quartet.[5] 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."[6] Following her service, she moved from Israel to New York[7] in hopes of using her classical training on stage[2] 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.[4][6]

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.[4][5] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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".[10]

In 2006, she co-founded Gedenk (Yiddish for "remember"), an organization dedicated to promoting education about the Holocaust in the United States.[3][11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

In March 2011, Ben-Ari was invited to the White House by Michelle Obama as part of a Women's History Month celebration,[3] to perform and to be honored as a "remarkabe Woman". In July 2011 she performed at the 2011 Miss Universe China pageant.[1] 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.[14]

In 2012, Ben-Ari was invited to perform for U.S. President Barack Obama.[15]

In 2013 she was appointed as “Goodwill Ambassador of Music” at the United Nations Association-Brazil.

In 2013 she was featured in the trance song Intense by DJ Armin Van Buuren. The track is the title track of the new album Intense and was chosen as the "Tune of the year 2013" by A State Of Trance

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.

In 2014 She was honored with the “Aviv Award” by The America-Israel Cultural Foundation 75th Anniversary Gala at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, hosted by Itzhak Perlman and introduced by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and CEO of Harman International Dinesh Paliwal. Ben-Ari was a special guest feature with Arianna Huffingtons THIRD METRIC LIVE and Armin Van Buuren ARMIN ONLY-INTENSE world tour. She became a featured blogger for the Huffington and was chosen by top Israeli news media Mako and Ynet as one of the top ten most influential Israelis now living in the United States.

In 2015 Following the great success of its first year, Ben-Ari continues to promote "The Gedenk Award For Tolerance" campaign, now in its second year partnership with Alliance for Young Artists & Writers sponsored by Ben-Ari's non-profit organization GEDENK. Ben-Ari received the first-ever “Girl Up Advocate Award” to celebrate international Women’s Day from the United Nations Foundation and is the recipient of the 2015 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.[16]

A longtime resident of Bergen County, New Jersey, Ben-Ari moved from Edgewater to Fort Lee in 2016.[17]




Year Single Chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. R&B Singles Sales U.S. Singles Sales
2005 "Run This City" (Clinton Sparks feat. P. Diddy & Miri Ben-Ari) 107 The Pulling Strings Mixtape
"Sunshine to the Rain" (feat. Scarface and Anthony Hamilton) The Hip-Hop Violinist
"We Gonna Win" (feat. Styles P)
2006 "Symphony of Brotherhood" 77 2 15

Miscellaneous, unreleased and remixes


  1. 1 2 Cohen, Eva (July 1, 2011). "Israeli makes history: Ben-Ari will play at Miss Universe China". Jewish Independent. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Reid, Shaheem (March 1, 2004). "Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Enlists Mya, Fabolous, Kanye West For Hip-Hop Debut". MTV. Archived from the original on January 12, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 Leichman, Abigail Klein (June 28, 2011). "Miri Ben-Ari: Hip-hop violinist and humanitarian". israel21c.org. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 Khazzoom, Loolwa (September 23, 2005). "Kanye West Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Debuts". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  5. 1 2 Grapham, Renee (October 2, 2005). "Violinist has the hip-hop world on a string". The Boston Globe. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  6. 1 2 Rogovoy, Seth (November 3, 2000). "Miri Ben-Ari". berkshireweb.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  7. Sommer, Allison Kaplan (April 15, 2011). "Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari: A Role Model for Our Daughters". The Jewish Daily Forward. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  8. Gonshor, Adam (April 4, 2004). "Violin is the Voice of Miri Ben-Ari | andPOP.com". andpop.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  9. "Rap News Network - Hip-Hop News: Hip Hop Violinist Wins Grammy". rapnews.net. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  10. "Reebok and Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari Make Beautiful Music Together with First-of-its Kind Partnership" (Press release). Reebok. August 25, 2005. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  11. Perez, Daniel (April 1, 2011). "Yad Vashim Young Leadership Hosts Gala in Support of Holocaust Awareness" (PDF). The Jewish Voice. p. 17. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 26, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  12. MLB entertainment
  13. "Miri Ben-Ari Receives Martin Luther King Jr. Award". Jewish Santa Barbara. Archived from the original on January 8, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  14. "ynet 100 הישראלים המובילים באמריקה - ידיעות אמריקה" (in Hebrew). Ynet. July 18, 2011. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  15. Cahill, Greg (October 2, 2014). "Violinist Miri Ben-Ari to Perform at Nobel Prize Event". All Things Strings. San Rafael, CA: String Letter Publishing. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  16. Alliance for Young Artists & Writers#Sponsored Awards
  17. Beckerman, Jim. "Pioneering pop and hip-hop violinist to visit Englewood's Elisabeth Morrow School", The Record (Bergen County), August 15, 2016. Accessed August 16, 2016. "But Ben-Ari, who just moved to Fort Lee a few months ago — previously she had lived in Edgewater — will be stopping by Elisabeth Morrow in person Tuesday to teach a master class, give an in-school performance (not open to the public), and get the 200-plus students prepared for their big day Thursday."
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