Julia Fischer in 2006
15 June 1983|
|Education||Munich University of Music and Performing Arts with Ana Chumachenco|
|Occupation||Violinist, pianist, violin professor|
|Years active||1995 -|
|Known for||Performances of works from Bach, Beethoven, and Russian violin concertos|
|Home town||Gauting, Munich|
Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists Junior category 1st Prize 1995|
Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2007 Artist of the year
On 1 January 2008, Julia Fischer performed the Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor by Camille Saint-Saëns as a violinist and Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor as a pianist at a concert evening at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt which very rarely occurs.
Julia Fischer lives with her husband and two children in Munich.
Apart from having a busy schedule as a violinist with up to 80 concerts a year she has she a half-time professorship at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts.
- 1 Background and early life
- 2 Competitions
- 3 Career
- 4 Artist of the year 2007 and selected as one of 16 Violinists of the Century 2006
- 5 Soloist on the violin and piano
- 6 Julia Fischer about career
- 7 About Julia Fischer
- 8 Chamber music
- 9 Repertoire
- 10 Instruments
- 11 Recordings
- 12 Julia Fischer about recording
- 13 Prizes and honors
- 14 Private Life
- 15 External links
- 16 Discography
- 17 References
Background and early life
Julia Fischer is of German-Slovak parentage. Her parents met in Prague where they were both studying. 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.
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.
Julia 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."
Her mother has this theory, which Julia Fischer supports, that a real musical education needs piano, to learn about harmony, theory, style and repertoire.
Eight years old, 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 University of Music and Performing Arts, where she worked with Ana Chumachenco.
Beethoven played a very important role in Julia Fischer's life when she was a child.
Julia Fischer played the Beethoven violin concerto for the first time in her mother's home town in East Slovakia when she was twelve and several months later with Yehudi Menuhin in Vienna with thirteen.
Beethoven is the favourite composer both of her mother, a pianist, and her elder brother, according to Julia Fischer a fantastic pianist, who played the piano until he was mid twenty and became an engineer.
Her parents got a divorce when she was thirteen.
There were two competitions which were the starting point of Julia Fischer's career.
The most prestigious competitions that Julia Fischer has won is the 1995 International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition which took place in Folkestone under Lord Yehudi Menuhin's supervision.
What's special about her performance is that she won both the first prize in the junior category and all the special prizes, including the Bach prize for the best Bach solo work performance.
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."
In 1996, she won the Eighth Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists in Lisbon, which was broadcast in 22 countries.
Soloist aged eleven
She has been giving concerts since she was 11, and started teaching as a violin professor at 23.
Julia Fischer has worked with 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, Michael Tilson Thomas, and 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; in concerts broadcast on TV and radio in every major European country, as well as on many 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 has been Fischer's mentor since 1997. Lorin Maazel used to give a concert with Julia Fischer at least once a year. Maazel made Julia Fischer perform as a soloist with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra first at the Bad Kissingen festival and afterwards, in March 2000, in Munich where the competition is fierce.
Julia Fischer's Carnegie Hall debut
2003 was a pivotal year in Julia Fischer's career.
In the same year, Julia Fischer performed for the first time with the Berlin Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra. In the end, her performance in London became a difficult task. Two weeks before the concert the programme was changed from the Beethoven violin concerto to the Bartók violin concerto which Julia Fischer has never played before. She mastered it.
In 2003 Julia 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.
She 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.
At the 2011 Salzburg Easter Festival Julia 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
Artist of the year 2007 and selected as one of 16 Violinists of the Century 2006
Soloist on the violin and piano
Julia Fischer is a soloist who can play both the violin part and the piano part of sonatas on a high level. Practising both parts Beethoven sonatas is how she started her musical education at the age of 4. This enhances her understanding of the harmony and style of the work she is playing as a violinist.
She stopped practicing piano only for a few months when she prepared the Menuhin Competition in 1995 where she won 1st prize in the junior category.
On 1 January 2008, Julia 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. Julia Fischer performed this concert once more in Saint Petersburg on 4 January 2008.
Julia Fischer about career
Julia 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 from May 2006 she remarked that Beethoven violin concerto is probably the concert she likes most.
Her mother taught Julia Fischer and her brother to play the piano just for love of classical music.
Fischer has loved and played Bach from age 4.
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.”
"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."
About Julia Fischer
"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, Julia Fischer founded with Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Nils Mönkemeyer (viola), and Benjamin Nyffeneggerthe (cello) the Julia Fischer quartet. The quartet went on tour in early 2018 with stops amongst others in Leipzig, London, Luxembourg, Munich and Zürich.
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 including 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).
In addition to her native German, Julia Fischer is fluent in English and French.
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.
Om her instruments Julia 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 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 of J. S. Bach, the Mozart violin concerti and the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.
After five years with Pentatone, in 2009, Julia Fischer was engaged by 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 DVD (Vivaldi, The Four Seasons and her New Year's Concert 2008 in Frankfurt where she soloed both on violin and piano).
Julia Fischer about recording
As for recording for Pentatone, Julia Fischer remarked:
“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.” 
When Kreizberg asked Julia Fischer 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.
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.
In 1997, Julia 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".
In 2009, Julia Fischer married and had her first of two children, a son. She lives in the suburbs of Munich, in Gauting, her home town and residence, she is linked to and where she spends most of the time of the year.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Julia Fischer.|
- Julia Fischer's fanclub
- 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
|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
- 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, website of the UK radio station Classic FM, 6 April 2018.
- Julia Fischer Violin & Piano CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS Violin Concerto No. 3EDVARD 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".
- Julia Fischer's concert in Frankfurt on 1 January 2008 was recorded and released as a DVD Julia Fischer: Violin & Piano by Decca on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics in 2010.
- Julia Fischer's profile at Deutsche Welle, 23 December 2014.
- Article by Laurence Vittes featured in Strings magazine, May 2006, No. 139.
- What's On in London, April 20, 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“ Interview with Julia Fischer in the FAZ from 29 February 2008 (in German).
- "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, Classcial Net, 2015.
- Concerto for Orchestra: Michael Tilson Thomas & Julia Fischer, Thu 30 May 2019 7.30pm - 9.40pm, Barbican Hall, London, announcecment 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.
- JS Bach: Julia Fischer in Wigmore Hall by Guy Dammann, The Guardian, 18 February 2010.
- "Vita - Philipp Augustin Violinen Geigen". 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". Retrieved 30 July 2018 – via YouTube.
- "2008 WNYC radio interview". Retrieved 2018-07-30.
- 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.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- Russian Violin Concertos CD review from Gramophone magazine, January 2005
- Julia Fischer: Ich bin gern mit meiner Geige verheiratet, interview with Julia Fischer by Gerhard Summer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 26 December 2016 (in German).