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Elena Kawazu



Instrument: Violin



Yale School of Music, M.M.




„...a seriously fine violinist with high-octane technical accomplishment and enormous panache...“ Tim Homfray, The Strad Japanese violinist Elena Kawazu’s curiosity for the instrument as a child has taken her on a now two-decade long journey around the world. She is a prizewinner of the Lipinski- Wieniawski, Louis Spohr, and Kloster Schontal international competitions, among others, and has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Zurich Chamber Orchestra (ZKO), Moscow Virtuosi, Staatskapelle Weimar, Wuhan Symphony Orchestra, LGT Young Soloists, Moscow State Chamber Orchestra, iPalpiti Festival Orchestra, and the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with respected conductors, for instance Anatoly Levine, Vladimir Spivakov, Eduard Schmieder, James Liu, and Marc Kissoczy. Venue highlights include the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gasteig Munich (broadcast live on Bayerischer Rundfunk), Jay Pritzker Pavillion Millenium Park Concert Hall, the beautiful City Palais Liechtenstein, Qintai Concert Hall, Rheingau Musik Festival, and Schloss Elmau. Elena undertook a CD recording with the LGT Young Soloists - the CD, named “Russian Soul”, was released in 2017 with the prestigious Sony RCA Red Seal label and her solo feature garnered positive reviews. Further honors include being chosen as a recipient of the 2020 Broadus Erle Prize by the Yale School of Music, winning an apprenticeship (Praktikum) with the Musikkollegium Winterthur for their 2017/18 concert season, and being selected as a Student Artist for the Juilliard Starling-Delay Symposium in 2017 and 2015. Elena has enjoyed opportunities as co-concertmaster of the Yale Philharmonia, as well as at the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra in 2016. As an enthusiastic chamber musician, Elena has most notably been coached by members of the Brentano Quartet, Ilya Gringolts, and Ulrich Koella, and in an orchestral setting has had the pleasure of working under the baton of maestros such as Peter Oundjian, Dima Slobodeniouk, Mika Eichenholz, Daniel Harding, Yuri Simonov, Bernard Haitink, David Robertson, and Nicholas Collon. Further musical endeavors have been honed at the Mozarteum Sommerakademie (AT), Summit Music Festival (NY), International Menuhin Music Academy Summer Festival (CH), and Crans Montana Classics (CH). At age 17, Elena Kawazu was granted early admission to the Bern University of the Arts in Switzerland under the guidance of Bartek Niziol and continued on to study with Ilya Gringolts at the Zurich University of the Arts, with whom she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with honors (“mit Auszeichnung”). She graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music in 2021. Intent on always evolving and learning, Elena’s interests lie in historical performance practice, performing underrepresented works and hidden treasures alongside the classical canon, and being an unrelenting advocate for mental health. Her free time is spent baking/cooking, out in nature, weight training, and playing video games. When possible, she also enjoys chamber music reading parties with friends. Elena plays on a Douglas Cox violin, on generous loan to her from the Virtu Foundation.

Hear her play

Elena Kawazu.JPG
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