Julia Fischer

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Julia Fischer
Geigerin 09.jpg
Julia Fischer in 2006
Background information
Born (1983-06-15) 15 June 1983 (age 35)
Munich, Germany
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) violinist, pianist
Instruments Violin, Piano
Website JuliaFischer.com

Julia Fischer (born (1983-06-15)15 June 1983) is a German classical violinist and pianist.


Fischer, born in Munich, Germany, 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.

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. Fischer said, "my mother's a pianist and I wanted to play the piano as well, but as my elder brother also played the piano, she thought it would be nice to have another instrument in the family. I agreed to try out the violin and stayed with it."[1] 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.

As a teenager, she was inspired mostly by Glenn Gould, Evgeny Kissin, and Maxim Vengerov.[2]

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 United States, Brazil and Japan; in concerts broadcast on TV and radio in every major European country, as well as on many U.S., Japanese and Australian radio stations.

In 2003 Fischer, with numerous performances in the U.S. in the previous six years, 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, Colorado. Her 2003 Carnegie Hall debut received standing ovations for her performance of Brahms's Double Concerto with Lorin Maazel 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 fall 2004 the label Pentatone released 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 of J. S. Bach, the Mozart violin concerti and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

Julia Fischer, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, December 2007

Among the most prestigious competitions that 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 Mozart's own violin in the room in which he was born at Salzburg to honor the 250th anniversary of his birth.

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

On 1 January 2008, Fischer 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.

In addition to her native German, Fischer is fluent in English and French.


Currently, she plays a Guadagnini 1742 purchased in May 2004.[3] For four years prior to 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.[4]

"I played on an adult-sized violin (4/4) ever since I was ten years old. The quality of my instruments improved as time passed: Ventapane, Gagliano, and then Testore, up to a Guarneri del Gesù in 1998. However, I wasn't satisfied with that violin, and changed to a Stradivarius [the 1716 Booth, property of the Nippon Music Foundation] on which I played for four years, with which I was well pleased. However, I always wanted to have an instrument of my very own. Thus, six years ago, in London I bought, with the advice of the concertmaster of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, who is one of my best friends, the 1742 Guadagnini..." – Julia Fischer, August 2010 (translated, original[5] in French)

Since 2012 she has owned and played a violin by Philipp Augustin.[6][7][8]

Prizes and honors[edit]

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."[9]
  • 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 Deutschlandfunk
  • 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".

About recording[edit]

As for recording for Pentatone, Fischer “had offers from big companies but none appealed. You don’t have to record. Yakov [Kreizberg] spoke to the people at Pentatone and to me and put us together. Pentatone more or less gave me carte blanche as to what I record and the musicians I work with are my choice; all these things were so important to me. I record to experience something and to help my playing and music-making. For the concerto CD, Yakov and I really talked about the pieces; I learnt so much by that.” [10]

"What is helpful for a career is that it is always about the music and not about the career. As soon as a young musician decides for certain reasons to have a career instead of using musical reasons, I can guarantee that it will be – if it will be at all – a short career. I truly believe that if someone wants to spend his professional life with music, he will – either as a soloist, orchestra member, teacher, concert promoter, or agent – in the end it is unimportant. One should choose to become a musician because one believes that the world needs music and without music, the emotional life of human beings is going to die. Everything else will come with dedication and hard work.” [11]

When Kreizberg asked her to record with the Russian National Orchestra, she said yes, but privately wondered whether it would come to pass, knowing that such impulsive recording plans often disappear into thin air. Still after their last performance in Philadelphia, Kreizberg already had the dates and suddenly Fischer, who had not even decided whether she wanted to start recording regularly, had a three-year, seven-CD contract with Pentatone, the new high-tech Dutch label headed by former Philips Classics executives, and one of the first labels to embrace the new SACD 5.1-channel surround-sound technology. Although she still wavered, what persuaded her to sign on the dotted line was that all the concerto recordings would be conducted by Kreizberg.[12]


Release Composer/Title of work Performer Label/Catalog no. Format
2002/08 Brahms EMI Classics


2002/10 Vivaldi Opus Arte/BBC


2004/08 Russian Violin Concertos PENTATONE

PTC 5186 059

Hybrid SACD
2005/03 Bach PENTATONE

PTC 5186 072

Hybrid SACD
2005/08 Mozart PENTATONE

PTC 5186 064

Hybrid SACD
2006/06 Mendelssohn PENTATONE

PTC 5186 085

Hybrid SACD
2006/09 Mozart PENTATONE

PTC 5186 094

Hybrid SACD
2006/10 Tchaikovsky PENTATONE

PTC 5186 095

Hybrid SACD
2007/04 Brahms PENTATONE

PTC 5186 066

Hybrid SACD
2007/10 Mozart PENTATONE

PTC 5186 098

Hybrid SACD
2009/01 Bach Decca

478 0650

2009/08 Schubert Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 1
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in D major, D. 384 (Op. 137, No. 1)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, D. 385 (Op. 137, No. 2)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor, D. 408 (Op. 137, No. 3)
  • Rondo for Violin and Piano in B minor “Rondo Brillant”, D. 895 (Op. 70)

PTC 5186 347

Hybrid SACD
2010/04 Schubert Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 2
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D. 574 (Op. posth. 162)
  • Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C major, D. 934 (Op. posth. 159)
  • Fantasy in F minor for Piano duet, D. 940 (Op. posth. 103)
  • Martin Helmchen (piano)
  • Julia Fischer (first piano part, D. 940)

PTC 5186 348

Hybrid SACD
2010/10 Paganini Decca

478 2274

2010/08 Saint-Saëns



074 3344

2011/01 Mozart - The Violin Concertos Julia Fischer, Gordan Nikolić, Pieter-Jan Belder, Hans Meyer, Herre-Jan Stegenga, Yakov Kreizberg (conductor), Netherlands Chamber Orchestra PENTATONE

PTC 5186453

Hybrid SACD
2011/04 Poème Decca

478 2684

2012/03 In Memoriam Yakov Kreizberg.

Works by Antonín Dvořák, Claude Debussy, Richard Wagner, Franz Schmidt, Johann Strauss Jr.


PTC 5186461

Hybrid SACD
2013/03 Dvořák



478 3544

2014/02 Sarasate
  • Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
  • Caprice Basque, Op. 24
  • Jota Aragonesa, Op. 27
  • Sérénade andalouse, Op. 28
  • El canto del ruiseñor, Op. 29
  • Danza Española No. 1: Malagueña, Op. 21, No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 2: Habanera, Op. 21, No. 2
  • Danza Española No. 3: Romanza Andaluza, Op. 22, No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 4: Jota Navarra, Op. 22, No. 2
  • Danza Española No. 5: Playera Op. 23 No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 6: Zapateado, Op. 23, No. 2
  • Danza Española No. 7: Vito, Op. 26, No. 1
  • Danza Española No. 8: Habanera, Op. 26, No. 2

478 5950

2014/02 Creating Timeless Classics

Works by Robert Schumann, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Howard Blake

Martin Helmchen, Arabella Steinbacher, Nareh Arghamanyan, Mari Kodama, Julia Fischer, Russian National Orchestra, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande PENTATONE

PTC 5186531

Hybrid SACD
2014/10 Schubert - Complete Works for Violin and Piano (re-issue) Julia Fischer, Martin Helmchen (piano) PENTATONE

PTC 5186519

Hybrid SACD
2015/09 Julia Fischer at the BBC Proms (21 Jul 2014) C Major 732104 / C Major 732008 Blu-ray / DVD-Video
2016/08 Duo Sessions ORFEO International

C 902 161 A



  1. ^ What's On in London, April 20, 2005
  2. ^ (in German) "Man darf nicht spielen, um bewundert zu werden", Die Welt (19 January 2009)
  3. ^ WQXR interview on January 4, 2006[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "2008 WNYC radio interview". Retrieved 2018-07-30. 
  5. ^ interview conducted by Olivier Bellamy in August 2010 Archived 2012-03-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Vita  -  Philipp Augustin Violinen Geigen". www.augustin-violins.com. Retrieved 30 July 2018. 
  7. ^ Interview, 23 March 2013 on YouTube, by Frank Elstner, SWR German television, playing Augustin violin]
  8. ^ DW Deutsch (23 December 2013). "Talk mit der Geigenvirtuosin Julia Fischer - Typisch deutsch". Retrieved 30 July 2018 – via YouTube. 
  9. ^ Russian Violin Concertos CD review from Gramophone magazine, January 2005
  10. ^ "Julia Fischer @www.classicalsource.com". Retrieved 30 July 2018. 
  11. ^ "Home - Premiopaganini". www.paganini.comune.genova.it. Retrieved 30 July 2018. 
  12. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2012-06-28. 

External links[edit]