|Education||Munich University of Music and Performing Arts with Ana Chumachenco|
|Awards||Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists Junior category 1st Prize 1995|
Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2007 Artist of the year
Julia Fischer (born 15 June 1983) is a German classical violinist and pianist. She teaches at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts and performs up to 60 times per year.
Julia Fischer is of German-Slovak ancestry. Her parents met as students in Prague. Her mother is Viera Fischer (née Krenková). Her father, Frank-Michael Fischer, a mathematician from East Germany, also moved from Eastern Saxony to West Germany in 1972. In addition to German, Fischer is also fluent in English and French.
Fischer started playing the violin before her fourth birthday and received her first lesson from Helge Thelen. A few months later, she began taking piano lessons from her mother. Fischer once said, "My mother is a pianist and I wanted to play the piano as well, but since my elder brother also played the piano, I thought it would be nice to learn another instrument. I agreed to try out the violin and stayed with it." Fischer also supports her mother's belief that musical education of any kind should include piano fundamentals to extend one's repertoire and knowledge of harmony, theory, and style.
At the age of eight, she began her formal violin education at the Leopold Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg, under the tutelage of Lydia Dubrowskaya. When she was nine years old, she was admitted to the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts, where she worked with Ana Chumachenco.
When she was twelve years old she played Beethoven's Violin Concerto for the first time in her mother's home town in East Slovakia, and later played it again with Yehudi Menuhin in Vienna. Beethoven was also her mother's and brother's favourite composer. Fischer's parents divorced when she was thirteen. As a teenager she was inspired by Glenn Gould, Evgeny Kissin, and Maxim Vengerov.
Two competitions defined Fischer's early career as a professional violinist. The most prestigious competition Fischer won was the 1995 International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition, which took place in Folkestone under the supervision of Yehudi Menuhin.
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, but she was manifestly more inspired than anyone in the senior category."
Her teacher in Münich, Ana Chumachenco, kept Fischer down to earth by making her practise difficult pieces of Sarasate. In 1996, she won another major contest, the Eighth Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists in Lisbon, which was broadcast in 22 countries.
Fischer started her career early, although she attended school (the Gymnasium) up to the age of 19, learning mathematics and physics as well as music, and passed the Abitur in spring 2002. She has been giving concerts since she was 11 and started teaching as a violin professor at 23.
Fischer has worked with many internationally acclaimed conductors, such as Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Yakov Kreizberg, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Neville Marriner, David Zinman, Zdeněk Mácal, Jun Märkl, Ruben Gazarian, Marek Janowski, Herbert Blomstedt, and Michael Tilson Thomas. She has also worked with a variety of top German, American, British, Polish, French, Italian, Swiss, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Japanese, Czech, and Slovak orchestras.
She has performed in most European countries, the United States, Brazil and Japan. Her concerts have been broadcast on TV and radio in every major European country and many have been featured on U.S., Japanese, and Australian radio stations.
Lorin Maazel as mentor
Lorin Maazel, chief conductor of the Munich-based Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 2002, was Fischer's mentor since 1997. He used to perform in a concert with Fischer at least once a year. Maazel made Fischer perform as a soloist with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra first at the Bad Kissingen festival and then, in March 2000, in Munich, where the competition was fierce.
Carnegie Hall debut
2003 was a pivotal year in Fischer's career, including her Carnegie Hall debut, when she received standing ovations for her performance of Brahms' Double Concerto with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In 2003 Fischer also performed for the first time with the Berlin Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra. Despite the added complication of the programme change two weeks before the concert, from the Beethoven violin concerto to the Bartók violin concerto, which Fischer had never played before, she mastered it.
Following numerous performances in the U.S. over the previous six years, in 2003 Fischer also performed 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.
She has toured with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Herbert Blomstedt and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic.
In 2006, Fischer was appointed as a professor at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts. She was Germany's youngest professor at the time. In fall of 2011, Fischer took over her former teacher Ana Chumachenco's chair at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts.
At the 2011 Salzburg Easter Festival, Fischer played the violin concerto of Alban Berg with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. In May 2013 she performed for the first time with the Vienna Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, playing the violin concertos of Esa-Pekka Salonen and Ludwig van Beethoven.
At the Proms
"Julia Fischer turns in a splendid account of the Dvořák violin concerto. She plays with her usual fine sense for judicious tempos, a wide range of imaginatively applied dynamics, beautiful intonation, and spectacular technique. She is very poetic in the lovely second movement and in the outer panels she plays with a true dynamism, catching all the drama and joy in the music. [...] I cited Fischer's technique above: you may well watch and listen in awe to her incredibly subtle and utterly dazzling encore performance of the finale of the Hindemith Solo Violin Sonata in G minor."
The Beethoven violin concerto
Fisher was selected as one of 16 Violinists of the Century, alongside Jascha Heifetz and Yehudi Menuhin, for the 20-CD box set of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in 2006. She was nominated Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2007 Artist of the year, succeeding Martha Argerich (1999) and preceding Hilary Hahn (2008).
Soloist on the violin and piano
Fischer is a soloist who can expertly play both the violin part and the piano part of sonatas. Practicing both parts of Beethoven sonatas is the way her musical education began at the age of 4. This approach has enhanced her understanding of the harmony and style of the works she plays as a violinist.
She stopped practicing the piano for a few months while she was preparing for the Menuhin Competition in 1995 where she won 1st prize in the junior category.
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. Fischer performed this concert once more in Saint Petersburg on 4 January 2008.[according to whom?]
Fischer about performing
Fischer once said: "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.”
In an interview in May 2006, she said the Beethoven violin concerto is probably the concerto she likes most. Her mother taught Fischer and her brother to play the piano just for the love of classical music. The jury of the 2006 BBC Music Magazine Awards 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.”
In 2010, a critic for the Guardian wrote: "Although still in her mid-20s, she has been playing Bach for nearly two decades, in a daily act of private worship. [...] Fischer's full-blooded sound still allows for breathtaking precision: with her perfect understanding of the even rhythm and mounting tension at the work's core, she held the audience in a vice-like grip."
"On a concert stage, performing music by Bach, Schubert or Sibelius, the superb young German violinist Julia Fischer is the picture of focus and discipline. Offstage, she's just the same." (Joshua Kosman about Julia Fischer 3 June 2009)
In 2011, Fischer founded the Fischer quartet with Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Nils Mönkemeyer (viola), and Benjamin Nyffenegger (cello). The quartet went on tour in early 2018 with stops in Leipzig, London, Luxembourg, Munich and Zürich. Music partners in chamber music are Daniel Müller-Schott (cello), Milana Chernyavska, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Igor Levit (piano).
The composers Fischer spent the most time with are Beethoven, Bach, Dvořák, Schubert and Brahms. 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. She is known for her performance of Bach's work, winning the Bach prize at the 1995 Menuhin competition and the 2006 BBC Music Magazine Awards Best Newcomer for the CD Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (BWV 1001–1006).
Currently, Fischer plays a Guadagnini 1742 purchased in May 2004, and also a violin by Philipp Augustin 2011, which she has owned since 2012. 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 another violinist, 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.
Fischer said in August 2010: "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."
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, climbing into the top five best-selling classical records in Germany within a few days and receiving 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 concerto and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. After five years with Pentatone, in 2009, Fischer signed a contract with Decca Classics.
She has published a number of acclaimed and awarded CDs for Pentatone (Russian violin concertos, the Solo Sonatas, and Partitas by Bach, the Mendelssohn Trios, the Mozart concertos, the Brahms Vc. and Double Concerto) as well as for Decca (Bach Violin concertos, Paganini 24 Caprices for Violin solo, Impressionistic music under the title 'Poème', and the Dvorak/Bruch combi Made in Switzerland) plus two DVDs (Vivaldi, The Four Seasons and her New Year's Concert 2008 in Frankfurt, where she soloed both on violin and piano).
Fischer about recording
About recording for Pentatone, Fischer once said: “I 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.”
According to Strings Magazine, “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.”
The article went on to say that “Although she still wavered, what decided her to sign on the dotted line was that all the concerto recordings would be conducted by Kreizberg.”
Prizes and honors
Fischer has won five prizes for her violin playing and three prizes for her piano playing at Jugend musiziert.
She won all eight competitions she entered.
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.
- 1995: 1st Prize at the international Yehudi Menuhin competition, in addition to a special prize, "Best Bach Solo-work".
- 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).
- 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".
|Release||Composer/Title of work||Performer||Label/Catalog no.||Format|
|2004/08||Russian Violin Concertos||PENTATONE
PTC 5186 059
PTC 5186 072
PTC 5186 064
PTC 5186 085
PTC 5186 094
PTC 5186 095
PTC 5186 066
PTC 5186 098
|2009/08||Schubert Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 1
PTC 5186 347
|2010/04||Schubert Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 2
PTC 5186 348
|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
|2012/03||In Memoriam Yakov Kreizberg.||PENTATONE
|2014/02||Creating Timeless Classics||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
|2014/10||Schubert – Complete Works for Violin and Piano (re-issue)||Julia Fischer, Martin Helmchen (piano)||PENTATONE
|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
|2017||Johann Sebastian Bach|
- Violinist Julia Fischer Voted Artist of the Year, article by Tom Huizenga, site of the NPR, 4 October 2007.
- Biography of Julia Fischer, site of Pentatone Music.
- Violinists of the century, selected and edited by music expert Harald Eggebrecht for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung Edition, 2006, catalogue of the ZVAB.
- This was confirmed in 2018. Julia Fischer was on the List of 25 greatest violinists of all time, selected by experts, on the website of the UK radio station Classic FM, 6 April 2018.
- Julia Fischer Violin & Piano CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS Violin Concerto No. 3 EDVARD GRIEG Piano Concerto Julia Fischer Junge Deutsche Philharmonie Matthias Pintscher, DVD release 2 August 2010, site of the Deutsche Grammophon, review: "Julia Fischer’s Double-barreled DVD Debut: First Rank Violinist, First Rank Pianist, First Rank Fischer".
- Forsthoff, Christoph (19 April 2018). "'Der CD-Markt überlebt nicht'" [The CD market does not survive]. Berliner Morgenpost (in German). Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Article by Laurence Vittes featured in Strings magazine, May 2006, No. 139.
- What's On in London, 20 April 2005
- Violinist Fischer juggles balance, discipline, article by Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 June 2009.
- Julia Fischer's Artist Biography by Robert Cummings, 2010.
- „Ich muss nicht sterben, um das zu spielen“ (tr. I don’t have to die to play this) Interview with Julia Fischer in the FAZ from 29 February 2008 (in German).
- "Man darf nicht spielen, um bewundert zu werden", (tr. Man darf nicht spielen, um bewundert zu werden) article in Die Welt from 19 January 2009 (in German).
- Laureates Archive, site of the Menuhin Competition.
- Violinist Julia Fischer talking to Hajo Schumacher on DW TV, 2013, 43:07 min.
- Julia Fischer – Die Geige ist ihre beste Freundin, article by Martina Kausch, Welt am Sonntag, 29 December 2002 (in German).
- Julia Fischer, violin, piano, biography on bach-cantatas.com.
- The Classic FM Q&A: violinist Julia Fischer, interview on Classic FM with Julia Fischer, 22 September 2015.
- Star violinist Julia Fischer impresses at the piano, too, interview with Julia Fischer by Bjorn Woll, edited by Kyle James, Deutsche Welle, 22 August 2010
- Lorin Maazel, obituary by Julia Fischer, taz, 27 December 2014.
- Julia Fischer wird Professorin an der Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, announcement of the Neue Musikzeitung, Regensburg, 8 November 2011 (in German).
- Profile Julia Fischer, site of the Berliner Festspiele (in German).
- Review BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with Julia Fischer, violin, by Robert Cummings, Classical Net, 2015.
- Concerto for Orchestra: Michael Tilson Thomas & Julia Fischer, Thu 30 May 2019 7.30pm – 9.40pm, Barbican Hall, London, announcement on the site of the LSO.
- "Home – Premiopaganini". www.paganini.comune.genova.it. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Audio interview of Julia Fischer from May 2006 on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Musicians site, 7:48 min.
- Julia Fischer, violinist and pianist, in DAS! (Das Abendstudio!) on NDR TV from 7 November 2010 with Hinnerk Baumgarten, 26:14 min.
- “Julia Fischer (Violin, Piano)” Bach Cantatas Website, retrieved 24 January 2019; Blog post (30 September 2006), Steve Hoffman Music Forums, retrieved 24 January 2019
- JS Bach: Julia Fischer in Wigmore Hall by Guy Dammann, The Guardian, 18 February 2010.
- "Vita – Philipp Augustin Violinen Geigen" [Vita – Philipp Augustin Violins Violins]. www.augustin-violins.com. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- on YouTube, by Frank Elstner, SWR German television, playing Augustin violin]
- DW Deutsch (23 December 2013). "Talk mit der Geigenvirtuosin Julia Fischer – Typisch deutsch" [Talk with the violin virtuoso Julia Fischer – Typically German]. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 30 July 2018 – via YouTube.
- "2008 WNYC radio interview". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Interview of Julia Fischer by Olivier Bellamy in August 2010, translated in English, original in French.
- "Julia Fischer". www.classicalsource.com. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- "Violinist Julia Fischer Exhibits Wisdom Beyond Her Years". Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- Russian Violin Concertos CD review from Gramophone magazine, January 2005
- Julia Fischer's profile at Deutsche Welle, 23 December 2014.
- Julia Fischer: Ich bin gern mit meiner Geige verheiratet, interview with Julia Fischer by Gerhard Summer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 26 December 2016 (in German).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Julia Fischer.|
- Julia Fischer's fan club
- Julia Fischer's homepage
- Violinist Fischer juggles balance, discipline, article by Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, 2009
- Julia Fischer's site at Universal Music
- Julia Fischer's site at Pentatone Music
- Julia Fischer's site at Decca Classics
- Audio interview of Julia Fischer from May 2006 on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Musicians site, 7:48 min
- Article featured in Strings magazine, May 2006, No. 139
- „Ich muss nicht sterben, um das zu spielen“ Interview with Julia Fischer from 29 February 2008 (in German)
- Julia Fischer playing Brahms Double Concerto, 33:54 min