Hailed by The Strad as ‘an artist who risks’ and described by Pizzicato Magazine as ‘a sensitive artist who knows how to immerse in the depths of music’, her passion for promoting the viola combined with her charismatic and expressive performances, and her beauty of sound, make Isabel Villanueva one of the most valued and complete violists of today.
Since her debut at age 18 performing Bartók Viola Concerto with the Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Villanueva has developed an intense career that has expanded through Europe, Russia, China, Latinamerica and Middle East.
In 2013 she became the first foreign violist to perform recitals in Iran.
She has been invited as a soloist with important orchestras including Moscow Soloists, Estonia National Symphony Orchestra, Real Philharmonia de Galicia, Castile and Leon Symphony Orchestra, Lebanon Philharmonic, Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra and Zagreb Soloists, among many others, under the baton of Michel Plasson, Jacek Kaspszyk, Yaron Traub, Paul Daniel, Andres Mustonen, Jorge Mester, Christian Vásquez and Lior Shambadal. The season 2020/21 will see Isabel debuts with Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, Joven Orquesta Nacional de Perú at Gran Teatro Nacional de Lima, Orquesta Sinfónica de Alicante ADDA, and she will return to Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga and Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, among others.
Important awards endorse her sparkling career and overflowing energy and talent. In 2015 she received the prestigious Prize ‘El Ojo Crítico’ by the Spanish National Broadcasting Corporation (RNE) and in 2019 was awarded the Culture Award of the Community of Madrid; both awards are the first time awarded to a violist.
Ms. Villanueva has performed in prestigious venues and festivals including the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Bath Music Festival, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Royal Court Theatre in Copenhagen, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Palau de la Música Catalana, Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima, Auditorio León de Greiff in Bogotá, Estonia Concert Hall, Assembly Hall of Beirut, Rottweil Musikfestival, Wigmore Hall in London and Roudaki Hall in Tehran.
Her first album Bohèmes released in 2017 together with pianist François Dumont was awarded Best Classical Album of the Year 2018 at the Spanish Independent Music Awards (Premios MIN).
Since the beginning of her career she has been particularly involved in new music, collaborating with composers and performing and premiering works, many dedicated to her including Sofia Gubaidulina, Antón García-Abril, Mauricio Sotelo, Golfam Khayam, Jordi Cervelló, Houtaf Khoury, Tomás Marco. Her discography includes the Concerto for Viola by José Zárate with Orchestra of Extremadura (Sony Classical 2017).
A passionate chamber musician, she performs with well-known artists such as Prazak Quartet, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Tedi Papavrami, Olivier Charlier, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Leonard Elschenbroich, Rafael Aguirre, Iddo Bar-Shaï and François Dumont, among others.
Isabel Villanueva is regularly invited as guest professor at Royal College of Music in London. She gives masterclasses in many international institutions all over the world : El Sistema de Venezuela, Universidad Panamericana de México, University of the Arts in Tehran, Bogotá Interviolas Festival, Conservatoire de Genève, Académie Musicale de Morges in Switzerland, Conservatoire Superieure de Musique du Liban, Spanish Youth National Orchestra.
Isabel was born in 1988 in Pamplona (Spain) beginning her musical training in her hometown and later in London, Siena and Geneva with professors I. Sulyga, L. Power, N .Imai and Y.Bashmet. She has been awarded in many viola competitions such as the Mravinsky Competition in St. Petersburg, Yuri Bashmet Competition in Moscow and Beethoven Competition in the Czech Republic.
Isabel Villanueva plays with a viola Enrico Catenar (Turin 1670) and uses Thomastik Infeld strings.
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