Born in Tel Aviv on January 11, 1941, he began his musical training at the Musical Academy of Tel-Aviv studying with legendary pedagogue Ilona Feher, the teacher of such violinists as Pinchas Zuckerman and Shlomo Mintz. He arrived in the United States while still young and studied with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ashkenasi won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1961 and in 1962 captured top prizes at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia, the Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, D.C., and the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Belgium. As a soloist, he has toured the Soviet Union twice and plays concerts every year throughout Europe, Israeland the Far East. He has performed with American orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Rotterdam, Geneva and Stockholm. Among his solo recordings are the Paganini Violin Concertos No. 1 and No. 2 with the Vienna Symphony on the Deutsche Grammophon label, the two Beethoven Romances, and the Mozart A Major Concerto.