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.
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.
At the age of 18 she performed Bartók Viola Concerto with Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra broadcasted for TVE. She has performed since then with 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.
Her debut album Bohèmes (IMMStage 2017) recorded with pianist François Dumont, was prized by The Strad, Pizzicato Magazine, Scherzo, Melómano… and awarded Best Classical Album of the Year 2018 at the Spanish Independent Music Awards (Premios MIN).
Villanueva has performed as a soloist in Europe, China, Latin America, Russia and Middle-East. In 2013 she became the first foreign violist to perform recitals in Iran. She has perform recitals and concertos in 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.
She is particularly involved in new music collaborating with composers and performing works many dedicated to her by S.Gubaidulina, A.García-Abril, M.Sotelo, G.Khayam, J.Cervelló, H.Khoury, T.Marco, among others. Her discography includes the Concerto for Viola by José Zárate with the Orchestra of Extremadura (Sony Classical 2017).
A passionate chamber musician, she has performed with 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 professor at the Higher School of High Performance Music in Valencia (ESMAR), and regularly guest to give masterclasses at the Royal College of Music in London among other many international institutions (Switzerland, China, UK, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Iran, Lebanon).
Isabel was born in 1988 in Pamplona (Spain) beginning her musical training in her hometown and later in London, Siena, 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.
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