Isabelle Faust is one of the most impressive violinists of the generation that emerged in the 1990s. She is known for exceptional technique and strong interpretive instincts.
She began taking violin lessons when she was five years old. By the time she was in her teens, she studied with the teachers Denes Zsigmondy and Christoph Poppen. She began entering major international competitions and in 1987 won the International Leopold Mozart Competition of Augsberg (Leopold Mozart's hometown). Although she was the youngest entrant, she won the First Prize. In 1990, the City of Rovigo granted her its Premio Quadrivio Prize. In 1993, she entered the Paganini Competition of Genoa and took First Prize, becoming the first German violinist ever to win it.
A busy concert career ensued. Over the next few years, she appeared with the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Lord Yehudi Menuhin, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn, the German Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata, the London Philharmonic, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Stuttgart, Cologne, Hannover, and Saarbrücken, and the orchestra of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She made her U.S. debut in 1995 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra under Joseph Silverstein.
Faust is also an avid recitalist and chamber musician and has performed in Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Paris, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Zürich, Milan, Tokyo, London, and Osaka and locations in the United States and Israel. Among her recital partners have been Clemens Hagen, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Bruno Canino, Stephen Isserlis, Bruno Giuranna, Boris Pergamenschikov, and Joseph Silverstein. One of her regular partners -- both in performance and in recordings -- is pianist Alexander Melnikov.
She has appeared at several major music festivals, including the Lockenhaus, Bad Kissingen, Berlin, Delft, Colmar, Schleswig-Holstein, the Rheingau Music Festival of Wiesbaden, Schwetzingen, Lyon, Sarasota (Florida), and Lanaudière Canada.
She made her debut album in 1997, playing the Bartók Solo Violin Sonata and Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, with Ewa Kupiec, on the Harmonia Mundi label. This recording won the Gramophone Award of that year for "Young Artist of the Year," citing her "combination of musical intuition and technical finesse. Harmonia Mundi followed that success by engaging her to record other Bartók violin music, including the Second Violin and Piano Sonata. She recorded the complete Haydn Violin Concertos on the PAN Classics label with the Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christoph Poppen (her former teacher), and planned to record the complete violin sonatas of Robert Schumann.
Her instrument, loaned by the Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg, is the Stradivarius violin of 1704 known as the "Sleeping Beauty Violin."
Isabelle Faust performs with pianist Alexander Melnikov on Friday, November 11, as part of the Classic Concert Series.