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Carolin Widmann

Violinist Carolin Widmann has maintained a top-flight career in continental Europe and in Britain, manifesting a strong commitment to contemporary music while offering choice, connoisseur-label interpretations of mainstream repertory works. She has recorded frequently for the ECM label. Widmann was born in 1976 in Munich; her brother, Jörg Widmann, is a noted clarinetist and composer. Carolin's training was fully international, taking place under Igor Ozim in Germany, David Takeno in England, and Michèle Auclair in the U.S., at Boston's New England Conservatory. Widmann first attracted attention in 1998 by winning the Prix du President at the Concours International Yehudi Menuhin in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. She followed that up with several other prizes, including the notable Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik ("German Recording Critics' Prize") in 2006. That prize was for Widmann's first album, Reflections I, which had an ambitious program for a debut: it focused on music from Ysaÿe to Boulez to Jörg Widmann that reflected on its own influences. That recording was made for Telos, but the majority of her recordings have been made for the contemporary-music-oriented and semi-audiophile ECM label. Her 2012 ECM album of Schubert violin works won critical plaudits for its inward interpretations, and, in general, Widmann has brought fresh perspective to Romantic repertory. She has also recorded music of such contemporary composers as Wolfgang Rihm, Morton Feldman, Olivier Messiaen, and Salvatore Sciarrino. Widmann teaches at the Felix Mendelssohn University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig and led the venerable Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker festival for several years in the early 2010s. Her touring schedule has been increasingly demanding and prestigious, including appearances with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has commissioned new works by Rihm, Peter Eötvos, Julian Anderson, and other composers. Widmann has also experimented with historical performance, using gut strings in performances of older music and leading the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, in performances in 2014-2015. Widmann released a recording of violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Schumann, conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe from the violin, on ECM in 2016. She has also recorded for the NEOS label, where in 2021, she joined her brother and the SWR Experimentalstudio for an album of works by Pierre Boulez. In 2022, she issued L'aurore, an album of solo violin works, on ECM.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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