"MESMERIZING!" - Fanfare Magazine
Grammy®-nominated recording artist, a concert violinist since the age of 4, and an award-winning performer (GOLD MEDAL at the Global Music Awards in 2017 and 2018), Elmira Darvarova caused a sensation, becoming the first ever (and so far only) female concertmaster in the entire history of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. With the MET Orchestra she toured Europe, Japan and the United States, and was heard on the MET's live weekly international radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, CDs and laser discs on the Sony, Deutsche Grammophon and EMI labels. As concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera she has performed with the greatest conductors of our time, including the legendary Carlos Kleiber.
She studied with Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall School in London (as a British Council scholar), with Josef Gingold at Indiana University in Bloomington (as one of his assistants), and, privately, with Henryk Szeryng. She is a Fellow of the Guildhall School in London, where currently a scholarship bearing Elmira Darvarova’s name is being awarded annually.
An award-winning artist (Gold Medal at the 2017 & 2018 Global Music Awards, Gold Quill Award by Classic FM Radio, and the Boris Christoff Medal), Elmira Darvarova can be heard on numerous CDs, recorded for several labels (recent releases include the world-premiere recording of Vernon Duke's violin concerto with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, and a CD with world-premiere recordings of chamber music by René de Castéra, named by the prestigious British publication MusicWeb International a RECORD OF THE YEAR 2015. Elmira Darvarova’s albums have entered the BILLBOARD Charts, most recently at the No. 3 position (August 2021, "Masterpieces for Sarod and Violin"). Several of her albums have been selected as Record of the Month by MusicWeb-International. Her CDs have won critical acclaim in such esteemed publications as The Strad, Gramophone, Fanfare, American Records Guide, BBC Music Magazine, Klassic heute, Ritmo.
She has appeared in recitals and as soloist on five continents, and has performed concertos with the Moscow State Symphony, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony, and with numerous orchestras on three continents. She has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages, such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer/ David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Symphony Space in New York; Symphony Hall in Chicago; Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco; Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto; Suntory Hall, Bunka Kaikan and NHK Hall in Tokyo; Musikverein in Vienna; Cadogan Hall in London; Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford; Koncerthuset in Stockholm; Victoria Hall in Geneva; Smetana Hall in Prague; Megaron in Athens; Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona; Alte Oper in Frankfurt; Kölner Philharmonie; Mumbai's National Center for Performing Arts; Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall; Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, among many others. She has given recitals and master classes at many festivals and at many music schools worldwide. Well-versed not only in opera, symphonic and chamber music repertoire, she performs and records in many other genres and styles, including tango, jazz, blues, folk, world music, contemporary/ electronic music, Stroh violin, and Indian Ragas. She has partnered for chamber music performances with James Levine, Janos Starker, Gary Karr, Pascal Rogé, Vassily Lobanov, with tango and jazz legends such as Octavio Brunetti, Fernando Otero and David Amram, and with the world-renowned Indian classical musician - the superstar of the Sarod - Amjad Ali Khan, with whom she recorded a trilogy of CD albums, based on traditional Indian Ragas (released in the United States, and separately, on the Indian sub-continent). Her recently released CD album "Masterpieces for Sarod & Violin" entered the BILLBOARD Classical Charts at No. 3 in August 2021.
She has recorded 2 CDs of Baroque music (world-premiere recordings) with the world's most renowned double bassist Gary Karr, and she has performed with him Bottesini's Gran Duo Concertante in the United States and Canada.
She has recorded 4 CDs of music by Astor Piazzolla, two of them with the late Argentine-born tango pianist and arranger Octavio Brunetti (named by the New York Philharmonic "the inheritor of Piazzolla's mantle"), and she has performed in a duo with Octavio Brunetti at festivals in the United States and Europe.
For the Naxos label she has recorded 3 CD albums of chamber music by Franco Alfano (world-premiere recordings), and she can be also heard on world-premiere recordings of chamber music by René de Castéra and Émile Goue on 2 albums recorded by the French label Azur Classical. For the German label Solo Musica she has recorded 2 albums: the complete Brahms Sonatas, together with pianist Zhen Chen, and masterpieces by Brahms, Franck, Clara Schumann and Vassily Lobanov with the world-renowned Russian pianist Vassily Lobanov (a former piano duo partner of the legendary Sviatoslav Richter), including the world-premiere recording of Lobanov’s Violin Sonata. For the Affetto label and the Urlicht AudioVisual label she has recorded numerous albums, including the critically acclaimed world-premiere recording of the violin concerto by Vernon Duke (with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony), a highly-praised recording of the iconic Brahms Horn Trio with the former principal horn of The New York Philharmonic Philip Myers, the violin sonata of Amanda Maier (with renowned pianist Bryan Wagorn), a Poulenc disc with the distinguished French pianist Pascal Rogé, and the solo violin album "Violin Declamations from the Twilight of the Workers' Paradise" - which includes world-premiere recordings of music by Elena Firsova, Nikolai Badinski and Konstantin Soukhovetski. In 2020 she released 2 double-CD albums on Affetto/Naxos: “Music from Five Centuries” and “Astor Piazzolla - Genius of Tango”, in addition to 2 other 2020 albums also on Affetto/Naxos - “Music by Women”, and "American Music for Violin & Horn". In 2021 she had several album releases, including “Can You Hear the Flowers” with Argentine-born Grammy®-winning pianist and composer Fernando Otero, and "Masterpieces by Brahms, Franck, Clara Schumann and Vassily Lobanov" with the world-renowned Russian pianist Vassily Lobanov (a former piano-duo partner of Sviatoslav Richter). Other 2021 CD album releases include "Homage to Eugéne Ysaÿe", "Horn Trios by Brahms, Kahn, Koechlin and Dubois", and a disc with chamber works by José Serebrier, whose new composition "Nostalgia" (2020) was transcribed and interpreted for solo violin by Elmira Darvarova at the composer's request. More CD album releases are scheduled for 2022 and 2023, including Elmira Darvarova's long-anticipated triple-CD album "From Bach to Blues", one more Eugene Ysaÿe album, and a disc with solo violin suites by Stephen Brown.
In addition to music by Vernon Duke, Franco Alfano, David Amram, Phillip Ramey, René de Castéra, Émile Goué, Amanda Maier, Jacobo Cervetto, Francois Barthélemon, Pierre de Breville, Charles-Marie Widor, Gustav Mahler, Astor Piazzolla, Francis Poulenc, José Serebrier, Vassily Lobanov, Elena Firsova, Dmitri Smirnov, Rebecca Clarke, Sylvie Bodorova, Wang Jie, Errollyn Wallen, Stephen Brown, Gernot Wolfgang, Fernando Otero, Norman Zocher, she has also premiered and/or recorded chamber music by Paul Chihara, Eugene Ysaÿe, Nikolai Kapustin, David Baker, Erich Korngold, Joseph Marx, Georgy Catoire, Aram Khachaturian, Alfred Schnittke, György Ligeti, Grigory Zaborov, Duke Ellington, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Sean Hickey, Francine Trester, Yui Kitamura, Zhen Chen, Elizabeth Raum, Marin Marais, Dobrinka Tabakova, Nikolai Badinski, Carsten Bo Eriksen, Ejnar Kanding, Amjad Ali Khan, among numerous others (and in addition to recordings of beloved masterpieces by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Clara Schumann and César Franck). Many composers have dedicated works to Elmira Darvarova. She has recorded live for Radio Innsbruck in Austria, as well as for Radio Suisse Romande in Switzerland. Her recital at Bela Bartok's memorial house in Budapest was broadcast live throughout Europe. A documentary film about her life and career was shown on European television. She performs in a duo with Grammy®-winner, pianist/ composer Fernando Otero, and is a founding member of The New York Piano Quartet, the Delphinium Trio, the Quinteto del Fuego and the Amram Ensemble. She is Jury President of several international chamber music competitions in Europe, and she is the President and Artistic Director of the New York Chamber Music Festival.
Hailed as "a marvelous violinist in the Heifetz tradition" by American Record Guide, praised by Gramophone Magazine for her "ultra-impassioned performances", and in The STRAD for her “intoxicating tonal beauty and beguilingly sensuous phrasing" and "silky-smooth voluptuous tone”, she was featured in Gramophone Magazine with an interview about her world-premiere recording of Vernon Duke's violin concerto (written for Heifetz in 1940), which she recorded recently with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to her concert instruments, Elmira Darvarova also owns a Stroh violin - the unique string instrument that looks like a cross between a violin and a trumpet, which was seen in the nightclub band featured on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire". Invented in 1899 with the goal of making an instrument that would project more in larger venues, the Stroh violin was also a popular choice for recording during the acoustic era - including classical music repertoire! The instrument is an appropriate choice for much early 20th century repertoire for music halls, the theater, and salon orchestra - and has been used on recent recordings by artists as diverse as Tom Waits and Shakira.
PHOTO by JIYANG CHEN