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Julia Fischer (Violin, Piano)

Born: June 15, 1983 - Munich, Bavaria, Germany

The German violinist and pianist, Julia Fischer, is of German-Slovak parentage. Her mother, Viera Fischer (née Krenková), came from the German minority in Slovakia and immigrated from Košice, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972. Her father, Frank-Michael Fischer, a mathematician who was born in East Germany, moved in the same year from Eastern Saxony to West Germany. She began her studies before her fourth birthday, when she received her first violin lesson from Helge Thelen. A few months later she started studying the piano with her mother. She began her formal violin education at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg under the tutelage of Lydia Dubrowskaya. At the age of 9, she was admitted to the Munich Academy of Music, where she continues to work with Ana Chumachenco. As a teenager, she was inspired mostly by Glenn Gould, Evgeny Kissin, and Maxim Vengerov.

Among the most prestigious competitions that Julia Fischer has won are the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition under Lord Yehudi Menuhin's supervision, where she won both the first prize and the special prize for best Bach solo work performance in 1995, and the Eighth Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists in 1996, which was broadcast in 22 countries from Lisbon. In 1997, Fischer was awarded the "Prix d'Espoir" by the Foundation of European Industry. She had the opportunity to play W.A. Mozart's own violin in the room in which he was born at Salzburg to honor the 250th anniversary of his birth.

Julia Fischer is recognized worldwide for possessing a talent of uncommon ability. Her “pure and fine-spun tone, blessed with seemingly infinite shadings” (The Chicago Tribune) combined with rare “technical brilliance” (The Guardian) make her one of the most-sought after soloist before the public today. She has worked with internationally acclaimed conductors, such as Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Yakov Kreizberg, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Neville Marriner, David Zinman, Zdeněk Mácal, Jun Märkl, Ruben Gazarian, Marek Janowski, Herbert Blomstedt, Michael Tilson Thomas, and with a variety of top German, American, British, Polish, French, Italian, Swiss, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Japanese, Czech, and Slovak orchestras. Fischer has performed in most European countries, the USA, Brazil and Japan; in concerts broadcast on TV and radio in every major European country, as well as on many USA, Japanese and Australian radio stations.

In 2003 Julia Fischer, with numerous performances in the USA in the previous six years, appeared with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Lorin Maazel playing Sibelius' Violin Concerto in New York's Lincoln Center, as well as Felix Mendelssohn's Violin concerto in Vail, Colorado. Her 2003 Carnegie Hall debut received standing ovations for her performance of Johannes Brahms' Double Concerto with Lorin Maazel and the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester. She has been on orchestral tours with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresdner Philharmonie. Her active repertoire spans from J.S. Bach to Penderecki, from Antonio Vivaldi to Dmitri Shostakovich, containing over 40 works with orchestra and about 60 works of chamber music.

Julia Fischer has always maintained her piano studies. On January 1, 2008, she had her public debut as a pianist, performing Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt. The concert was conducted by Matthias Pintscher, who stepped in for Sir Neville Marriner. On the same occasion she also performed the Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor by Camille Saint-Saëns. Recent performances at the piano have seen her perform Dvorak’s Piano Quintet at Alte Oper Frankfurt and Munich’s Prinzregententheater.

An avid chamber music performer, Julia Fischer founded the Julia Fischer Quartet in 2011 with longtime collaborators Alexander Sitkovetsky, Nils Mönkemeyer und Benjamin Nyffenegger. The quartet goes on tour in early 2018 with stops amongst others in Leipzig, London, Luxembourg, Munich and Zürich.

In the 2017-2018 season Julia Fischer is Artist-in-Residence with the Wiener Symphoniker. Apart from a chamber music program with principals from the orchestra, joint concerts with the orchestra and Chief Conductor Philippe Jordan at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein feature performances of Felix Mendelssohn's and Robert Schumann's violin concerti respectively as well as J. Brahms' concerto under the baton of Lahav Shani in Fischer's hometown Munich. Further orchestral concerts in the season will reunite her with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Fabio Luisi), St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Paris (J. Brahms' and Tchaikovsky violin concerti with Yuri Temirkanov), London Philharmonic Orchestra (Vladimir Jurowski), SWR Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart (Thomas Søndergård), Philharmonia Orchestra (Esa-Pekka Salonen), Orchestre National de France (Riccardo Muti), Dresdner Philharmonie (Michael Sanderling) and Tonhalle-Orchestra Zürich (Herbert Blomstedt). On tour with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester and its General Music Director Kirill Petrenko, Julia Fischer performs J. Brahms' Double Concerto with Daniel Müller-Schott in Munich, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and New York’s Carnegie Hall in spring 2018. In recital with pianist Yulianna Avdeeva, she tours Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Julia Fischer took over her former teacher Ana Chumachenco’s chair at the Munich Academy of Music in fall of 2011: Teaching and passing on to her students what she feels privileged to have learned from her teachers has since been a pivotal focus of her professional life. Apart from teaching at the Academy, she is regularly giving master-classes at the “Musikferien am Starnberger See” in Germany.

In addition to her native German, Fischer is fluent in English and French. urrently, she plays a Guadagnini 1742 purchased in May 2004. For four years priorto that, she had been using a Stradivarius, the 1716 Booth, on loan from Nippon Music Foundation, an instrument that had previously belonged to Iona Brown. She usually uses a Benoît Rolland bow, but sometimes a copy of the Heifetz Tourte by the Viennese maker Thomas Gerbeth for early Classical period music. Since 2012 she has owned and played a modern violin made by Philipp Augustin.

In fall 2004 the label Pentatone released Julia Fischer's first CD: Russian violin concertos with Yakov Kreizberg and the Russian National Orchestra. It received rave reviews, climbed into the top five best-selling classical records in Germany within a few days, and received an "Editor's Choice" from Gramophone in January 2005. Other critically acclaimed recordings include sonatas and partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001-1006) of J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart's violin concerti and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. Throughout her career, she released numerous CD and DVD recordings on the Pentatone and Decca labels. All recordings garnered highest praise by the international press and were awarded multiple prizes amongst others Germany’s ECHO Award, the Diapason d’Or; the CHOC from Le Monde de la Musique and a BBC Music Magazine Award. She has been named ECHO “Instrumentalist of the Year” 2007, the Gramophone “Artist of the Year” 2007 and “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2009 MIDEM Classical Awards.

Prizes and honors

Julia Fischer has won five prizes for her violin playing and three prizes for her piano playing a.o. at Jugend musiziert. She won all eight competitions she entered.
1995: 1st Prize at the international Yehudi Menuhin competition, in addition to a special prize, "Best Bach Solo-work". Music journalist Edward Greenfield said, "I first heard Julia Fischer in 1995 as a 12-year-old in the Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition. Not only did she win outright in the junior category, she was manifestly more inspired than anyone in the senior category."
1996: Winner 8th Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists in Lisbon.
1997: Prix d'Espoir the prize of the European music industry.
1997: Soloist prize of the festival "Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania".
1998. EIG Music Award.
2000: Promotion prize Deutschlandfunks.
2005: ECHO Klassik Award for the CD Russian Violin Concertos.
2005: Winner of the Beethoven ring.
2006: During the celebrations of Mozart's birthday in his hometown Salzburg, Fischer played on Mozart's violin (with Daniel Müller-Schott and Jonathan Gilad). About the event she says: "During the first hour I couldn't play anything I wanted, because during the days of Mozart the violins were a lot shorter and I wasn't used to that".
2006: BBC Music Magazine Awards 2006 "Best Newcomer" for the CD Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001–1006). The jury said, “There are many recordings of Bach's works for solo violin but rarely do they reach such breathtaking heights of musicianship as this one. Julia Fischer is an incredible technician and soulful musician who does not let an ounce of ego come between the music and the listener.”
2007: The Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year.
2007: ECHO Klassik Award for the CD Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
2009: MIDEM Classical Award as "Instrumentalist of 2008."
Julia Fischer was awarded the German Culture Prize in 2011 and the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2016.

Source: Julia Fischer Website; Wikipedia Website (September 2017); Photos: Felix Broede
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2017)

Julia Fischer: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Julia Fischer (Official Website) [English/German]
Julia Fischer (Wikipedia)

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