Few artists have ever burst onto the international scene with such immediate and overwhelming success as Arabella Steinbacher. Since her 2004 debut in Paris, she has been on a meteoric ascent, appearing at the major concert venues in Europe, the U.S., and Asia and making critically acclaimed recordings. One of the reasons for her success is her choice to play rarely heard works as well as the standards. A look at the variety in her sizable repertory can astonish string music enthusiasts, encompassing not just the big three (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) but Berg, Barber, Bruch, and many more. Her work in the chamber realm has drawn the same kind of plaudits as have her concertante performances. Steinbacher issued a recording of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi and Piazzola in 2020.
Steinbacher was born in Munich, Germany, on November 14, 1981. Her mother was a singer, and her father once served as répétiteur at the Bavarian State Opera. Steinbacher was extremely precocious, studying violin from age three. From age nine, she received instruction from Ana Chumachenco at the Munich Academy of Music. Steinbacher was later mentored by Ivry Gitlis and aided by a scholarship from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation (2001-2005). After her 2004 debut in Paris, offers to perform around the world flooded in. Her first recording, the Khachaturian Violin Concerto, was issued that same year on Orfeo. Steinbacher's 2006 recital debut in New York received high praise from The New York Times, and her major American orchestral debut the following year, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Sibelius concerto, drew raves from the Chicago Tribune.
As a member of the humanitarian organization CARE, Steinbacher toured Japan in 2011 following the tsunami disaster, performing for survivors in CARE shelters. After the tour, the documentary Arabella Steinbacher: Music of Hope was issued, covering her performances and outreach from her time in Japan. She has continued regular tours as well, performing with many leading orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras. The conductors she's performed with are equally prestigious and include Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Riccardo Chailly, among many others.
Steinbacher has issued more than a dozen recordings. In both 2005 and 2006, she received the German Record Critics Awards, the first for her recording of the Milhaud violin concertos and the second for her recording of Shostakovich concertos, both on Orfeo. Her 2006 Orfeo album Violino Latino, containing works by Piazzolla, Ponce, de Falla, and others, deftly conveyed her idiomatic grasp of Latin music. In 2009, Steinbacher signed an exclusive contract with the PentaTone label. Her first album there, Dvorák: Violin Concerto; Romance; Szymanowski: Violin Concerto, was issued that same year. In 2020, Steinbacher released Four Seasons, an album containing the works bearing that name by Vivaldi and Piazzolla, with the Munich Chamber Orchestra. Steinbacher's other accolades include two ECHO Klassik Awards, an Editor's Choice Award from Grammophone Magazine, and a Les Chocs du Mois from Le Monde de la Musique.
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