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Musical World

Arabella Steinbacher

  • Violinist


Arabella Steinbacher's career was launched in 2004 with an extraordinary and unexpected debut in Paris, when she stepped in on short notice for an ailing colleague and performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Sir Neville Marriner.

Her continued success is due in large part to her diverse and deep repertoire, which includes more than twenty concertos for violin. In addition to all of the major concertos of the Classical and Romantic period, she also performs those of Barber, Bartók, Berg, Glazunov, Khatchaturian, Milhaud, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Szymanowski, Hartmann, and Sofia Gubaidulina's Offertorium.

Among Ms. Steinbacher's numerous recording honors are an ECHO-Klassik Award (considered to be the German equivalent of the Grammy) for Young Artist of the Year, "Les Chocs du Mois" from Le Monde de la Musique, and two German Record Critics Awards. Ms. Steinbacher recently signed an exclusive recording contract with PentaTone Classics. Her first CD on that label, released in autumn 2009, includes Dvorák's Violin Concerto in A Minor and Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1, as well as Dvorák's Romance in F Minor, with the excellent Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin led by Marek Janowski. Ms. Steinbacher recorded her second PentaTone release, which will feature Bartók's First and Second Violin Concertos, in July 2009.

Arabella Steinbacher has already appeared with leading international orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Philharmonia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, WDR Symphony Orchestra, and NHK Symphony Orchestra; she has worked with the world's leading conductors including Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Marek Janowski, Lorin Maazel, Sir Neville Marriner, and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, among others.

Highlights of the 2010-11 season include Ms. Steinbacher's Carnegie Hall debut with the conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, her Tanglewood Festival debut, and her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During the 2009-10 season, Arabella Steinbacher made her much-anticipated debut at the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra led by Jonathan Nott. She also debuted with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis, performed with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, toured with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, performed with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchester led by Sir Colin Davis and in the US and Asia with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit.

An important part of Arabella Steinbacher's concert calendar is devoted to chamber music. Her chamber music partners include the pianists Robert Kulek and Peter von Wienhardt, as well as the cellists Alban Gerhardt and Daniel Müller-Schott.

Born in Munich in 1981 to a German father and a Japanese mother, Ms. Steinbacher began studying the violin at the age of three. Her mother is a professionally trained singer who came to Germany from Japan to study music, and her father was the first Solorepetitor in the Bayerische Staatsoper, from 1960 to 1972. At nine, she became the youngest violin student of Ana Chumachenko at the Munich Academy of Music. She received further musical inspiration and guidance from Ivry Gitlis, whom she still meets regularly in Paris.

In 2001, Ms. Steinbacher won the sponsorship prize of the Free State of Bavaria and in the same year she was awarded a scholarship by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. From Anne-Sophie Mutter, who personally supports her, Ms. Steinbacher received a bow from the master luthier Benoit Rolland. Ms. Steinbacher currently plays the "Booth" Stradivari (1716) generously provided by the Nippon Music Foundation. She lives in her hometown of Munich.