Biography

Isabel Villanueva 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. Recognized with numerous awards, including the ‘Prix Albert Lullin’ in Geneva to the most outstanding instrumentalist of the year 2014, the prestigious Spanish National Radio Classical Music Prize 2015, ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’ to her debut album ‘Bohèmes’ at Spanish Independent Music Awards 2018, and recently the Culture Prize in Classical Music from the Community of Madrid 2019. Isabel announces herself as one of the best international violists of the new generation : The Strad Magazine ‘Isabel Villanueva, an artist who risks’.

Since she made her official debut with Bartók Viola Concerto at the age of 18 with Spanish Radio Television Symphony Orchestra in Madrid, she has recently been invited to perform as a soloist with Moscow Soloists, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, Orquestra Nacional d’Andorra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, Real Filharmonia de Santiago, Oviedo Filarmonía, Orquesta de Córdoba, among others, under the baton of maestros including J.Kaspzyck, P.Daniel, L.Shambadal, M.Plasson, S.Brotons, Y.Traub or A.Mustonen. She has a wide range solo repertoire from Telemann, passing Mozart or Paganini, XX century concertos, to collaborations with composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Betti Olivero or Antón García-Abril, which include world premiere concertos by H.Khoury and J.Zárate (recorded for Sony Classical), dedicated to her.

She has also premiered viola works by Mauricio Sotelo, Tomás Marco, Golfam Khayam, Jordi Cervelló, Daniel Schnyder, among others.

Villanueva regularly appears as a soloist and recitalist in Europe, Asia, Russia and Middle East, in prestigious venues including the Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Bath Music Festival, Estonia Concert Hall, Rottweil Musikfestival, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Schubertiade RTS, Lavaux Classic, Royal Court Theatre in Copenhagen, Assembly Hall in Beirut, Wigmore Hall in London among others, and main concert halls and festivals in Spain including Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Palau de la Música in Valencia or Santander Festival. A hit marked 2013, when she performed at Roudaki Hall in Tehran becoming the first foreign violist to perform solo recitals in Iran.

Next season 2019/2020 she will make her solo debut in Latinamerica with a tour presenting her album ‘Bohèmes’ with her partner François Dumont and as a soloist with orchestras.

Villanueva is regularly invited to give masterclasses worldwide at institutions such as Royal College of Music in London, Pacific International Youth Orchestra in Guangzhou (China), Bath University, Conservatoire Superieur de Musique du Liban, Tehran National University of Music and Arts, Spanish Youth National Orchestra and many conservatoires in Spain. She is professor at ESMAR – High Performance Advanced School of Music in Valencia.

She is prizewinner in many viola competitions including Mravinsky Competition in St. Petersburg, Beethoven Viola Competition in Czech Republic or Yuri Bashmet Viola Competition in Moscow. In 2015 she was officially recognized by Marca España (Brand Spain) and named ‘Global Ambassador of Spanish Talent’ by Clear Channel. She is Cultural Ambassador from Fondation Prim’Enfance in Switzerland.

Born in Pamplona (Spain) in 1988, Isabel studied with I.Sulyga, Y.Bashmet, L.Power and N.Imai at Royal College of Music in London, Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena and the Haute École de Musique in Geneva.

Villanueva plays an Enrico Catenar viola (Turin, 1670) and uses Peter Infeld strings by Thomastik-Infeld (Vienna).