REVIEWS

Awarded the Spanish National Radio Culture Prize 2015, Isabel Villanueva (1988) is valued for her expression and sensibility as well as for her passion and commitment to promote the viola as an instrument with its own voice. Isabel announces herself as one of the best violists of the new generation.

 

She has appeared as a soloist with the Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra (Bartók & Walton Concertos), Moscow Soloists (Mozart), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (Gubaidulina), New Russia State Symphony Orchestra (Bartók), Orquestra Nacional d'Andorra (J.C.Bach, Hoffmeister & Rolla Concertos), Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León (Bartók), Filarmónica de Málaga (Walton), Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra (Khoury), Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta of Tallin (Olivero), among others. She has a wide range repertoire of viola concertos from the baroque period until contemporary works including several world premieres which has performed under the baton of maestros Andres Mustonen or Michel Plasson, with whom she performed this season 2016/17 the Walton Viola Concerto with the Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra.

 

She has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in prestigious venues including the Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Estonia Concert Hall, Santander Festival, Bath Music Festival (UK), Pablo Casals Festival in Prades (France), LegeArtis Festival (Austria), Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Schubertiade RTS (Switzerland), Royal Court Theatre in Copenhagen, Assembly Hall in Beirut, Roudaki Hall in Tehran (becoming in 2013 the first foreign violist to perform solo recitals in Iran) and the Wigmore Hall in London.

 

She has performed chamber music with partners such as Vlach Quartet Prague, Prazak Quartet, Trio Arbós and Daniel Schnyder, among others.

 

Villanueva has a strong interest in expanding music for viola. Premieres and collaborations include the world premiere of José Zárate Viola Concerto at Auditorio de Zaragoza (2010), the Concerto for two violas Two Paths by Sofia Gubaidulina at her 80th anniversary gala concert at the Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic (2012), Betty Olivero's 'Neharót, Neharót' for viola and orchestra at the MustonenFest closing gala at Estonia Concert Hall (2014), Mauricio Sotelo 'Blanca Luz de Azahar' for viola and piano at Auditorio Nacional de Madrid (2016) and Houtaf Khoury's 'Lost to this World' Viola Concerto with Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra in Beirut (2017).

 

She is prizewinner in numerous international viola competitions including Mravinsky Competition in St. Petersburg, Beethoven Viola Competition in Czech Republic or Yuri Bashmet Viola Competition in Moscow. In 2014 she was awarded the 'Prix Albert Lullin' in Geneva to the most outstanding instrumentalist of the year. In 2015 she was recognized institutionally by Marca España and named 'Global Ambassador of Spanish Talent' by Clear Channel. She is 'Cultural Ambassador' from Fondation Prim'Enfance in Switzerland.

 

In the season 2016/17 Isabel will perform in Spain, Andorre, France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Lebanon; concertos with Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Nacional d'Andorra, Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra in Beirut and Banda Municipal at L'Auditori in Barcelona. She will perform recitals at Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Royal Court Theatre in Copenhage, Schubertíada in Vilabertrán, Festival Musika-Música in Bilbao, Lavaux Classic in Switzerland and Rottweil JazzFest in Germany, among others.

 

In 2017 will be realised her first two recording projects : the Viola Concerto by José Zárate for Sony Classical and a viola and piano CD with François Dumont.

 

Isabel studied with I.Sulyga, Y.Bashmet, L.Power, N.Imai and M.da Silva at Royal College of Music in London, Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena and the Haute École de Musique in Geneva.

 

Isabel Villanueva plays an Enrico Catenar viola (Turin, 1670) and uses Peter Infeld strings kindly sponsored by Thomastik-Infeld (Vienna).