Julia Fischer

Violin

Julia Fischer

Julia Fischer, born in Munich, Germany, is of German-Slovakian parentage. Her mother came from the German minority in Slovakia and emigrated from Košice in Slovakia to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972. Her German father moved in the same year from Eastern Saxony to West Germany.

She has worked with internationally acclaimed conductors, such as Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Yakov Kreizberg, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Neville Marriner, David Zinman, 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 Slovakian orchestras. Julia Fischer has performed in most European countries, the United States, Brazil and Japan; in concerts broadcast on TV and radio in every major European country, as well as on many US, Japanese and Australian radio stations.

In 2003 Julia Fischer – already for six years present in US concert halls at that time – appeared with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Lorin Maazel playing the Sibelius Violin concerto in New York's Lincoln Center as well as the Mendelssohn Violin concerto in Vail, CO. Her 2003 Carnegie Hall debut received standing ovations for her performance of Brahms Double concerto with Lorin Maazel, Han–Na Chang and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Fischer has been on orchestral tours with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic.

In autumn 2004 the label PentaTone released Julia Fischer's first CD: Russian violin concertos with Yakov Kreizberg and the Russian National Orchestra. It received ravishing reviews, climbed into to the top five bestselling 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 of J. S. Bach, the Mozart violin concertos and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

Julia Fischer 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 Viera Fischer. She began her formal violin education at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg, under the tutelage of Lydia Dubrowskaya. At the age of nine Julia Fischer was admitted to the Munich Academy of Music, where she continues to work with Ana Chumachenco.

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 Julia Fischer was awarded the “Prix d‘Espoir” by the Foundation of European Industry. She recently had the opportunity to play Mozart's own violin in the room in which he was born at Salzburg to honour his 250th birthday.

Her active repertoire spans from Bach to Penderecki, from Vivaldi to Shostakovitch, containing over 40 works with orchestra and about 60 works of chamber music.

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Brahms: Violin Concerto & Double Concerto

Brahms: Violin Concerto & Double Concerto


Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102

Daniel Muller-Schott (cello)


It is impossible to perform either Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D or his Double Concerto in A minor without inviting comparison to Joseph Joachim, the great Hungarian virtuoso for whom Brahms composed nearly all of his violin works. For many years, Joachim and Brahms were inseparable companions and mutual sources of inspiration. It was on Joachim’s urging that Brahms composed his Violin Concerto in D, a masterpiece which quickly entered the standard violin repertoire.

Violin Concerto in D was notable at the time for its return to a style of symphonic concerto which could be traced directly to Ludwig van Beethoven. This gives both conductor and orchestra a great deal of leeway for interpretation, especially during the long periods in which the solo violin doesn’t play at all, such as the orchestral introduction and the beginning of the Adagio movement. Russian-born American conductor Yakov Kreizberg is more than up to the task of bringing these moments to life, as is the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, for whom Kreizberg had served as chief conductor since 2003.

The titular role of violin soloist is filled masterfully by German violinist Julia Fischer, who throughout her numerous PENTATONE releases consistently brings a maturity and poise well beyond her years. Her interpretation captures both the lightheartedness and joy with which Brahms composed these works and the seriousness of the tradition from which they come. Fischer’s ability to graciously cede the spotlight to the orchestra and emerge in the foreground at just the right moments lends this particular release a level of interaction which truly sets it apart.

For the Double Concerto in A minor, Fischer is joined by fellow Munich native Daniel Müller-Schott on cello. Brahms composed this work as an olive branch to Joachim after a period in which they refused to speak for several years following Joachim’s contentious divorce. The Double Concerto is rife with musical cues and other references to their friendship, particularly in the interplay between cello and violin, and this spirit is perfectly captured by an exceptionally dynamic performance by Fischer and Müller-Schott.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Julia Fischer plays Tchaikovsky

Julia Fischer plays Tchaikovsky


Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Sérénade Mélancolique for Violin & Orchestra in B minor, Op. 26

Valse

Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42


The entirety of Tchaikovsky's repertoire for solo violin, including his only concerto for the instrument, was written during a period of remarkable turbulence between 1875 and 1878. His recent marriage to Antonia Milyukova had plunged the composer into nearly-suicidal depression, and for a brief time his preferred method of expression became an instrument he had generally shunned early in his career. The most notable product of this anguish was Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D, a work that swings widely between extremes as wide as Russian gypsy music andWestern European-influenced Romanticism. At the time it was deemed unplayable, and even virtuoso violinist Leopold Auer turned down the offer to premier the piece because of its technical difficulty. Of course times have changed, and PENTATONE artist Julia Fischer began playing the piece at the age of 14. This release marks the 4th collaboration between Fischer and Russian conductor Yakov Kreizberg, and their 2nd to feature the Russian National Orchestra. Together they have recorded four of Tchaikovsky's greatest works from this period, which amount to some of the most expressive and difficult music written for the violin.

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D provides the backbone for the album, but there are plenty fireworks in VaIse-Scherzo, another supposedly unplayable piece that has since attracted considerable interest from violinists. In contrast, Serenade melancolique conveys "melancholic passion, hopeless yearning and bitter thoughts of death," according to Tchaikovsky biographer Richard Stein. For Souvenir d'un lieu cher, the final composition on the album, Kreizberg takes a seat at the piano to join Fischer in an intimate duet brimming with nostalgia.

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Duo Sessions: Julia Fischer & Daniel Müller-Schott

Duo Sessions: Julia Fischer & Daniel Müller-Schott


Halvorsen:

Passacaglia for Violin & Cello/Viola (after Handel)

Kodály:

Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7

Ravel:

Sonata for Violin & Cello

Schulhoff:

Duo for violin & cello


The works heard in this programme – some of the most important works written for violin and cello – were written surprisingly late, some of them a decade or more after the dawn of the Modern era: Kodály 1914; Ravel 1922; Schulhoff 1925. Although these three works can scarcely be regarded as avant-garde for their time, at least where their tonality is concerned, a new spirit is in the air: a freely ranging search on all levels for new forms and means of expression, coupled with a love of experimentation with extremely sparse scoring. It is also noteworthy that all three works succeed in their own way in reflecting a national character in their musical idiom. Ravel offers typical trompe-l’oreille subtlety while retaining immaculately groomed French elegance; Kodály writes against a background of ethnological research in folk music; Schulhoff stands out for the way he experiments with complex combinations of rhythms.

However, the pioneering work in a distinctive violin-cello repertoire was surely written a generation earlier: Brahms’s concerto for this ‘eight-stringed giant’ of 1887. It was a performance of his work that brought Julia Fischer and Daniel Müller-Schott together on the concert platform for the first time. In fact, both artists wish this CD release to represent a record of their work together as a duo over the past ten years and more, as the pair explain in an extended conversation with Meret Forster printed in the accompanying booklet. It is already the case that performances of the Brahms Double Concerto by Fischer and Müller-Schott now almost inevitably lead the audience to expect the immortal Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia of 1894 – a demand that is gladly met. This congenial enlargement by the Norwegian violinist and composer Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) of a passacaglia from a Handel suite for harpsichord exists in various pairings of violin, viola and cello. It accentuates the infectious vigour of the original in a remarkably clever manner by its highly challenging but idiomatic transposition to two quite differently characterized and mutually supportive instruments.

“they play [the Ravel and the Kodály] with such energy, engagement and virtuoso precision that there’s never any hint of overfamiliarity; in both works, every detail of the extremely demanding string writing is carefully etched, and captured with tingling immediacy in the recording.” The Guardian, 27th July 2016

“They share an easy rapport, they revel in the gypsy influences that pervade, especially, Kodaly’s work...This is gritty music played with a probing intensity and a spectrum of colour, the players equal to all the challenges the composers throw at them.” Sunday Times, 31th July 2016

“There’s plenty to enjoy here” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“A superbly performed programme of 20th century duos for violin and cello.” MusicWeb International, 9th December 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Chamber Choice - November 2016

Orfeo - C902161A

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Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano

Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano


Schubert:

Sonata (Sonatina) for violin & piano in D major, D384 (Op. posth. 137 No. 1)

Sonata (Sonatina) for violin & piano in A minor, D385 (Op. posth. 137 No. 2)

Sonatina (Sonatina) in G minor, D408 (Op. posth. 137 No. 3)

Rondo brillant in B minor, D895 (Op. 70)

Grand Duo for Violin and Piano in A Major, D574

Fantasie in C major for violin and piano, D934

Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940

Julia Fischer (piano)


Julia Fischer (violin) & Martin Helmchen (piano)

PENTATONE is combing two of its best-selling recordings, Franz Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano Volume one and two to a double Super Audio-CD set. The recordings by these two brilliant German artists, Julia Fischer and Martin Helmchen — which were originally launched in in 2009 (Vol 1) and 2010 (Vol 2) — were remarkably successful from both a critical and a commercial standpoint. As it is the violin and piano works that constitute the essential enchantment, one can hardly imagine that somebody would be interested in one without wanting the other as well.

These performances, which were charmingly recorded in a warm acoustic space form, perfectly balanced conversations between two vibrant young personalities. As Pentatone once again collaborated with its trusted partner Polyhymnia International recording studio, with its outstanding reputation for the quality of its multi-channel surround sound recordings, it goes without saying that this album will be a delight to music aficionados’ ears.

“playful but utterly focused…Fischer/Helmchen conjure a lustrously haloed quality.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

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Bruch & Dvorak: Violin Concertos

Bruch & Dvorak: Violin Concertos


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26

Dvorak:

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53


Joined by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra and David Zinman, Fischer pairs the ever-popular Bruch concerto with Dvorák's undeservedly neglected but perennially fresh masterpiece - a rather more logical twinning than the ubiquitous Mendelssohn.

A former Artist of the Year at the 2007 Gramophone Awards, and 'Instrumentalist of the Year' at the 2009 MIDEM Classical Awards, Fischer signed to Decca Classics shortly afterwards and this is her fifth release for the label.

Reviewing Julia Fischer’s performance of the Dvorák Concerto in London, The Guardian wrote, “Dvorák’s Violin Concerto, a romantic showpiece too often passed over in favour of Bruch and Mendelssohn, has a piquant slow movement to compete with either. Fischer made sure we heard every note, handing us each bar with absolute technical assurance and in a lustrous, seamless tone.”

“Zinman takes full advantage of Dvorák’s command and exploitation of orchestral texture and instrumental colour...Ubiquitous the [Bruch] concerto might be, but here Fischer asserts all the freshness and intensity that are hallmarks of her stylish playing...The finale’s rhythmic drive and rapture cap a performance, and a disc, of striking presence and allure.” The Telegraph, 15th March 2013 ****

“a spirited, buoyant performance [of the Dvorak] that for much of the work's duration wears an irresistable smile.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2013

“a very attractive coupling. The much-recorded Bruch receives a passionate and strongly compelling performance, with Julia Fischer delivering a dazzlingly brilliant and technically flawless account of the solo part.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2013

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Julia Fischer: Poème

Julia Fischer: Poème


Chausson:

Poème for Violin & Orchestra, Op. 25

Respighi:

Poema autumnnale

Suk:

Fantasy for Violin & Orchestra, Op. 24

Vaughan Williams:

The Lark Ascending


Julia Fischer follows her extraordinary Grammy-nominated recording of the fiendish Paganini Caprices with a contrasting album − a lyrical and poetic set of impressionistic works for violin and orchestra.

Comprising four substantial pieces, this unique program is headed by Suk’s virtuosic Fantasy, a mini-concerto that is now justifiably finding its way into the concert repertoire. It is accompanied by two well-known tone poems – the elegant Poème by Chausson and the English pastoral The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. The album is completed by Respighi’s Poema autunnale (of which there is only one other recording in the catalogue), making the program truly multinational.

For this recording, Julia Fischer is joined by her long-term colleague on the podium, Yakov Kreizberg, directing his own orchestra, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra − with whom Julia Fischer has a very close artistic relationship as artist in residence for the 2010/11 season.

Critical acclaim for the Paganini album: She plays “with lyricism, digital brilliance and incredible finesse” (The Observer).

“The programme...needs close rapport between soloist and orchestra. Here Fischer was lucky, for her conducting partner — for the last time alas — is Yakov Kreizberg...[who] cradles Fischer very tenderly, particularly in the Respighi...Fischer’s golden moments? Her singing line in the Respighi. Twinkling and darting in the Suk. And definitely her lark: nature enthroned in simple glory. May she long continue to enchant us.” The Times, 8th April 2011 ****

“Four nationalities, four moods, but linked by a common late-Romantic, poetic sensibility. All are warmly performed by Fischer and the Monte-Carlo orchestra. The CD makes a fine memorial for conductor Yakov Kreizberg, who died at an early age last month.” The Telegraph, 28th April 2011 ***

“The Suk dazzles, the Chausson is restrained yet passionate, the Respighi beautiful in the extreme. Kreizberg's conducting, meanwhile, is notable for the emotional subtleties and fastidious sense of colour and line that characterised his best work. Touching and very fine.” The Guardian, 5th May 2011 ****

“The intelligently constructed programme is the most intriguing the pair have produced...Aside from the occasional woolly texture, support from Kreizberg's Monte Carlo Philharmonic is superlative...This beautiful disc is one of Fischer's best, and also stands as a fitting testament to Kreizberg's art.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2011 *****

“probably the finest [Lark] on record...Fischer's detailing of the avian solo line is so filled with little wonders and fresh insights that it is almost like discovering the music for the first time...Kreizberg and his Monte Carlo orchestra follow every fluctuation in Fischer's free-flowing solo line so that the orchestra and the soloist really do appear as one...This exceptional recording is a fitting tribute to a great musical partnership.” Classic FM Magazine, July 2011 *****

“Chausson's Poeme thrives on the sort of fluent dialogue that Fischer and Kreizberg achieved as a matter of course and, although Fischer's playing is charged with emotion, she's placed in a sensible relation to the orchestra...Kreizberg's witty handling of the variations section [of the Suk] really made me smile...Fischer's tonally alluring, full-blooded performance sits perfectly within the context of an imaginatively chosen prgramme” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“Fischer's Chausson Poeme is lovely, with a finely spun solo line and impeccably judged double-stopping: it's passionately projected without the sound ever being forced. The orchestral support here has real fervour...Fischer is characteristically subtle [in The Lark] and she pays careful attention to detail...[She] is an engaging, sensitive soloist, possessing a fabulous technique, and the programme is very enjoyable.” International Record Review, July/August 2011

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Bach - Violin Concertos

Bach - Violin Concertos


Bach, J S:

Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV1043

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV1041

Violin Concerto No. 2 in E major, BWV1042

Concerto for Oboe & Violin in C minor, BWV1060


"Across the world thrusting young violinists are two a penny, but there is only Julia Fischer." Geoff Brown, The Times

Julia is one of the fastest rising music stars in the world today. Her first Decca release features some of the most commercial violin repertoire of Bach concertos and will set a new benchmark for Bach recordings.

25-year-old Julia Fischer is already being hailed as one of the truly great violinists of the twenty-first century acclaimed as "Artist of the Year" in the prestigious Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2007 and voted "Best Newcomer" by BBC Music Magazine in 2006. At the age of eleven, Julia Fischer not only carried off the top prize at the 1995 International Yehudi Menuhin Competition (overseen by Lord Menuhin himself) but was awarded a special prize for "Best Bach Solo Work". Her 2006 BBC Music Magazine "Best Newcomer" Award was also given in response to her Bach playing - specifically her complete recording of the solo Sonatas & Partitas, of which 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.

“Fischer strikes my ears as being an intuitive Bachian. Her phrasing is elegant and she has an unerring feeling for Bach's broad architectural melodic contours. These are lyrical performances, gently articulated, and wonderfully free from celebrity-style ego.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2009 *****

“…her playing is beautifully honed, technically without flaw.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2009

“I think there is a place for performances as beautifully conceived and played as these, even if the sound is romanticised and approached from the perspective of later music. Fischer’s pristine tone and sizzling technique are well partnered by Alexander Sitkovetsky in the Double Violin Concerto and by Andrey Rubtsov in a reconstructed work for violin, oboe and strings. Fischer is for those who like their Bach seamless and consoling, rather than challenging.” Sunday Times, 8th February 2009 ****

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Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola & Orchestra in E flat major, K364, etc.

Mozart:

Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola & Orchestra in E flat major, K364

Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C, K373

Concertone in C for 2 Violins and Orchestra, K190


“Listen to the start of the great Sinfonia Concertante, here replete with an energy which doesn't preclude sensitivity of phrasing or detail of instrumental colour. …Fischer and Nikolic emerge from the opening tutti with a sense of wonder, marking this is one of Mozart's most deeply felt inspirations. ...their interplay in the Adagio is a profound delight.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2008 *****

“In the Sinfonia – one of Mozart’s first masterpieces, written in 1779, on the threshold of his entrance into the pantheon of genius – soloists, orchestra and conductor emphasise the majestic, symphonic dimensions of the opening movement, and they duet rapturously like operatic lovers in the sublime Andante. If you have the solo concerto discs, you won’t want to miss this” Sunday Times, November 2007

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

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Mozart - Violin Concertos Nos. 3 & 4

Mozart - Violin Concertos Nos. 3 & 4


Mozart:

Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K218

Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E, K261

Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in B flat, K269


“Julia Fischer shows real poise and elegance in Mozart violin concertos” BBC Music Magazine, 1st November 2005

“I'd say that anyone on the look-out for a digitally recorded CD of Mozart violin concertos could hardly do better” Robert Cowan, The Independent

“…these performances are full of disciplined subtlety and astonishing interpretative maturity. The G major Concerto, K216, is lush and spirited, the traditional-style performance lacking nothing in warmth. The relaxed, cantabile style of her playing in the final movement serves the dancelike nature of Mozart's music.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - November 2005

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Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006

Bach, J S: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006


Julia Fischer (violin)

“Classic accounts by Milstein and Grumiaux have been usurped by this extraordinarily gifted newcomer” BBC Music Magazine, Proms issue 2005

“This is a masterly achievement from one of the most impressive of the younger generation of violinists.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2005

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month

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