Biography

Isabel Villanueva is one of the most important violists of the new generation. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and China. She is pioneer in presenting concerts in numerous places where Viola was never programmed as a soloist before. In 2013 she became the first foreign violist to perform recitals in Iran. She is particularly involved in new music collaborating with composers and performing works, many dedicated to her, by S.Gubaidulina, M.Sotelo, G.Khayam, J.Cervelló, H.Khoury, T. Marco, J.Zárate and B.Olivero, among others.

In 2015 she received institutional recognition from Marca España as “ambassador of Spanish talent in the world”. That same year she received the Prize “El Ojo Crítico” of the Classical Music by the Spanish National Broadcasting Corporation (RNE), and recently in 2019, he has been awarded the Culture Award of the Community of Madrid in Classical Music; both awards are the first time they are awarded to a violist.

Concerto engagements during the 18/19 season include Walton, Paganini and  Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Oviedo Filarmonía, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, Orquesta Bética of Seville and the Murcia Symphony Orchestra. In November 2018 she presented with great success the re-premiere of the Concerto for Viola “Cantos de Ordesa” by Antón García-Abril at the inauguration of Spanish Music Festival in Cádiz with the Córdoba Orchestra.

In recent seasons Villanueva has performed with The Moscow Soloists, Estonia National Symphony, RTVE Symphony, Castile and Leon Symphony, Navarra Symphony, Andorra National Orchestra, Málaga Philharmonic, Lebanon Philharmonic, Istanbul State Symphony, New Russia State Symphony and Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta of Tallinn. She has performed concertos for viola from the Baroque period to the present under the baton of Michel Plasson, Jacek Kaspszyk, Yaron Traub, Paul Daniel, Andres Mustonen and Lior Shambadal.

The 19/20 season will see Villanueva debut in Latin America with the symphony orchestras of Monterrey, Boca de Río and Jalisco, as well as concerts with Zagreb Soloists and Joven Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid performing Paganini, Berlioz, Weber and Giya Kancheli.

Villanueva has performed as a soloist in halls and festivals around the world, highlighs include: CNDM “Liceo de cámara” cycle at the Madrid National Auditorium of Music, Palau de la Música Catalana, L’Auditori de Barcelona, ​​Palau de Valencia, Bilbao Musika -Music Festival, Mallorca Formentor Sunset Classics Festival, Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Bath Music Festival, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Royal Court Theatre in Copenhagen, Estonia Concert Hall, Assembly Hall of Beirut, Rottweil Musikfestival, Wigmore Hall in London and Roudaki Hall in Tehran.

They wrote about her: “A pure example of virtuosity, precision and sensitivity” (Ritmo Magazine), Isabel Villanueva, an artist who risks ”(The Strad).

Her discography includes the Concerto for Viola by José Zárate with the Orchestra of Extremadura for Sony Classical in June 2017. Her first personal album ‘Bohèmes’ was presented with the pianist François Dumont for IMMStage in October 2017. This album has received awards by The Strad, Melómano de Oro, Scherzo Magazine, Top 10 RITMO Magazine, and in 2018 was awarded Best Classical Album of the Year in the Premios MIN awards of Independent Music, being the first time a Viola album is selected.

She collaborates in chamber music with artists such as Prazak Quartet, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Nikita Boriso-Glebsky, Tedi Papavrami, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Marti Roussi, Leonard Elschenbroich, Astrid Siranossian, Trio Arbós, Rafael Aguirre, Iddo Bar-Shaï and Thomas Hoppe.

Isabel Villanueva is a professor at the Higher School of High Performance Music in Valencia (ESMAR), and regularly invited to give masterclasses at the Royal College of Music in London, Bath Music University, Wells Cathedral School, Pacific Academy in Guangzhou, Conservatoire Supérieur du Liban, Académie Musicale de Morges, Spanish Youth National Orchestra and numerous Spanish conservatories.

Isabel was born in Pamplona (1988) beginning her musical training in her hometown and later at the Royal College of Music in London, Academia Musicale Chigiana de Siena, Haute école de musique de Geneva with professors I. Sulyga, L. Power, N .Imai and Y.Bashmet. She has been awarded in viola competitions such as the Mravinsky Competition in St. Petersburg, Yuri Bashmet Competition in Moscow and Beethoven Competition in the Czech Republic.

Involved in human causes, she is the Cultural Ambassador of the Prim’Enfance Foundation in Geneva. Isabel Villanueva plays with a viola Enrico Catenar (Turin 1670) and uses Thomastik Infeld strings.