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 symphonic world premieres (José Zárate and Houtaf Khoury Viola Concertos, dedicated to her). She has has performed under the baton of maestros Salvador Brotons, Andres Mustonen or Michel Plasson, with whom she performed the season 2016/17 the Walton Viola Concerto with the Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra broadcasted by the RTVE.
She has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in prestigious venues including the Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Bath Music Festival (UK), Estonia Concert Hall, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palau de la Música Catalana, L'Auditori in Barcelona, Santander Festival, Pablo Casals Festival in Prades (France), LegeArtis Festival (Austria), Rottweil Musikfestival Sommersprossen (Germany), Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Schubertiade RTS, Lavaux Classic Festival (Switzerland), Royal Court Theatre in Copenhagen, Schubertíada in Vilabertrán, Festival Musika-Música in Bilbao, Auditorio de Zaragoza, 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 including Vlach Quartet Prague, Prazak Quartet, Trio Arbós, Martti Roussi and Daniel Schnyder.
She has a strong interest in expanding music for viola. Premieres and collaborations include solo works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Betty Olivero, José Zárate, Mauricio Sotelo, Jordi Cervelló, Houtaf Khoury and Golfam Khayam, among many others.
In 2006 Isabel won the first prize of Intercentros National Competition in Madrid, followed by concerts in the main spanish concert halls and festivals. She is prizewinner in international viola competitions including Mravinsky Competition in St. Petersburg (2009), Beethoven Viola Competition in Czech Republic (2012), or Yuri Bashmet Viola Competition in Moscow (2013). 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 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 for IMMStage.
Isabel Villanueva is regulary invited to give masterclasses in different institutions such as Royal College of Music in London, Conservatoire Superieur de Musique du Liban in Beirut, Conservatorio Superior de Música de Navarra, Escuela de Altos Estudios Musicales de la Filarmonía de Galicia, Iran National University of Music and Arts in Tehran.
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).