Leila Josefowicz

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Leila Josefowicz
Born (1977-10-20) October 20, 1977 (age 44)
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
OriginCurtis Institute of Music
LabelsPhilips Classics

Leila Bronia Josefowicz (/ˈllə ˈsɛfəwɪts/ LEE-lə joh-SEF-ə-witz;[1] born October 20, 1977) is an American-Canadian classical violinist.


Josefowicz was born in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. When she was a young child her family moved to Los Angeles, California, where she started studying violin at the age of three and a half using the Suzuki method. Her father, physicist Jack Josefowicz, and mother, biologist Wendy Josefowicz, learned with her. At age five she started formal lessons with Idel Low. At seven she began studies with the distinguished violin teacher Robert Lipsett at The Colburn School. Leila's parents, valuing a well-rounded education, believed that both she and her brother Steven should stay in the public school system, and Leila attended public middle and high school despite a very full schedule of music activities.[2]

When Leila was 13 the Josefowiczes moved to Philadelphia so she could attend the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Jaime Laredo, Jascha Brodsky, Felix Galimir and Joseph Gingold. Leila also attended the Julia R. Masterman School in Philadelphia while at Curtis, completing a bachelor of music degree and her high school diploma in the same year.


While still in her teens, Josefowicz played with symphony orchestras in Europe, Asia and North America, including Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Montreal and Toronto.

Josefowicz made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1994 performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.[3][4] The same year she signed an exclusive recording contract with Philips Classics, recording the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius concertos. Other recordings followed on Warner Classics,[5] Nonesuch Records and Deutsche Grammophon[6] labels that include masterworks for solo violin, recital repertoire and the concertos of Romantic and modern composers.

Josefowicz has kept a busy international schedule as a soloist, performing regularly around the world, including North and South America, Europe, Japan, China, New Zealand and Australia. She has a strong interest in jazz, improvisation, and new music.[citation needed]

Josefowicz is acclaimed for championing new compositions,[citation needed] including works by John Adams, Oliver Knussen, Thomas Adès and Luca Francesconi. In 2008–09 she performed the world premiere of the violin concerto written for her by Esa-Pekka Salonen, for which he won the Grawemeyer Prize, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (April 2009); Steven Mackey wrote a violin concerto for Josefowicz that was given its world premiere with the St. Louis Symphony (October 2008); and Colin Matthews wrote a concerto for her that had its world premiere with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (September 2009). In 2014 she gave the world premiere of the concerto Duende written for her by Luca Francesconi, for which he won the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award. In 2015 she gave the world premiere of the concerto Scheherazade.2, written for Josefowicz by John Adams, with the New York Philharmonic.[7] Josefowicz continues to play traditional masterworks and contemporary compositions with ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Salonen), New York City Ballet Orchestra (Salonen), San Francisco Symphony (Adams and Salonen), St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Adès), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Matthews), New World Symphony (Adès), Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Knussen), Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (Mackey), Cleveland Orchestra (Adams), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Adès), Minnesota Orchestra (Vänskä), and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Adès). Some of her recent and upcoming engagements in Europe include appearances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich and Czech Philharmonics, and the London Symphony; performances of the new Salonen concerto in Paris, Stockholm, Lisbon and Ferrara, Italy with the composer on the podium; and a fifth appearance at the London Proms.

Josefowicz received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1994.[8] In 2007 she was named a USA Cummings Fellow, United States Artists.[citation needed] For her advocacy of new contemporary works for the violin, Josefowicz was named a 2008 MacArthur Fellow.[9] In 2018 she was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize[10]


  1. ^ "Leila Josefowicz on Composer Oliver Knussen". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  2. ^ Palmer, Andrew (May–June 2000). "A Conversation with Violinist Leila Josefowicz". All Things Strings. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  3. ^ "About the performer: Leila Josefowicz". Los Angeles Philharmonic.
  4. ^ Peter Culshaw (5 April 2005). "I needed to have my heart broken". The Telegraph.
  5. ^ "Leila Josefowicz: Shostakovich". The Times. June 2, 2006.
  6. ^ "Leila Josefowicz: Salonen Violin Concerto". The Times. October 20, 2012.
  7. ^ "Aided by Josefowicz's fire, Adams returns to form with "Scheherazade.2"". The Classical review. March 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "AVERY FISHER CAREER GRANTS". www.aboutlincolncenter.org. Retrieved 2020-12-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Leila Josefowicz: Violinist, Class of 2008". MacArthur Foundation. January 27, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Avery Fisher Prize | Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts". www.aboutlincolncenter.org. Retrieved 2020-12-27.

External links[edit]

External video
video icon Leila Josefowicz, NPR