Renowned virtuoso violinist and orchestral conductor Vladimir Spivakov regularly appears with the world’s premier ensembles. Artistic director of the Moscow Virtuosi, since 2003 he has also been music director and principal conductor of the National Philharmonic of Russia. Studying violin in the class of the famous professor Yuri Yankelevich at the Tchaikovsky Academy in Moscow, he was also a non-registered student of David Oistrakh’s.
Winning prizes at many international violin competitions (the Long-Thibaud, Paris, Montreal, the Tchaikovsky in Moscow, the Paganini in Genoa…), Vladimir Spivakov embarked on a brilliant international career, beginning with a triumphant tour of the United States in 1975, as well as performing many concerts in Europe. He was soon welcome as a soloist with many celebrated orchestral ensembles. Vladimir Spivakov has appeared with the Symphony Orchestras of Chicago, New York, London, and Los Angeles, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Berlin Philharmonic, to name but a few. He has performed under some of the greatest batons: Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini, Sir Georg Solti, Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, etc.
In Russia in 1979, Vladimir Spivakov created his own orchestra, the Moscow Virtuosi. This remarkable ensemble boasts solo musicians from the finest orchestras in the country. Quickly acquiring a solid international reputation, the Moscow Virtuosi perform concerts all over the world. Since 1989 Vladimir Spivakov has worked as artistic director of the International Music Festival in Colmar. In 2001 he set up the international “Vladimir Spivakov Invites” festival that takes place in Moscow and in other cities throughout the former Soviet Union.
Vladimir Spivakov has recorded nearly 50 discs and his albums have received the highest awards from the international music press, such as the Choc de la Musique and the Diapason d’Or, in particular. He is particularly involved with 20th-century music through his series of Modern Portraits. In 1995 Vladimir Spivakov recorded a disc of outstanding “bravura pieces” for violin entitled Méditation. Other albums include a remarkable Homage to Shostakovich (1997), a disc devoted to Alfred Schnittke, and a recording of the Sibelius violin concerto with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov. In 2001 he released an album of sonatas (Strauss, Franck…) with Sergei Bezrodny at the piano and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with James Conlon and the Cologne Philharmonic. His recordings of great 20th-century violin concertos continue with those of Alban Berg and Karl Amadeus Hartmann (2003). Mention should also be made of the Homage to Alfred Schnittke, an album of works by Ernest Chausson accompanied by pianist Hélène Mercier (the Concert Op. 21 and Роèmе Op. 25), the winner of a Choc du Monde de la Musique award, as well as a CD devoted to pieces by Arvo Pärt (Berliner Mass, Fratres..) recorded with the Moscow Virtuosi and the Moscow Academy of Choral Art (2003), etc.
A member of the jury for many great international violin competitions (Montreal, Canada, the Carl Flesch in London, the Paganini in Genoa, the Yehudi Menuhin and the Jacques Thibaud in Paris), for several years Vladimir Spivakov has acted as president of the Sarasate International Violin Competition. In 2002 and 2007 he chaired the jury of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In addition, for seven years Vladimir Spivakov has held violin masterclasses in Zurich, where he succeeded renowned violinist, Nathan Milstein. In June 2004 and 2010 Vladimir Spivakov headed up the jury for the Monte-Carlo Violin Masters competition.
In addition to his recognized qualities as an artist, Vladimir Spivakov has committed to many humanitarian causes. An active member of several charitable organizations, in 1994 he established his own foundation that has helped thousands of young talents in the arts and music in the ex-Soviet Union: more than 700 have been presented with musical instruments, more than 12000 with financial assistance, and hundreds more with medical aid. The foundation has already organized upwards of 7000 concerts by young musicians and 1000 exhibitions by young artists in Russia and abroad. In 2012, Vladimir Spivakov was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for his humanitarian work (former recipients include French President Jacques Chirac, the King of Spain Juan Carlos I, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Valentina Tereshkova).
Composers of the calibre of Alfred Schnittke, Rodion Shchedrin, and Arvo Pärt have all dedicated works to Vladimir Spivakov. Every year, the maestro gives more than 100 concerts all over the world as a soloist, guest conductor, or at the head of one of his two orchestras. In addition, since 2003 he has served as president of the Moscow International House of Music. Vladimir Spivakov plays on the magnificent “Hrimali” Stradivarius dating to 1712.
Vladimir Spivakov’s contribution to the progress of music and culture is internationally recognized, and he has received awards in Russia, Italy, the Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and other nations. In 2006 Vladimir Spivakov was made a UNESCO “Artist for Peace” and in 2009 he was awarded the same organization’s Mozart Gold Medal. In 1999 he was named Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters, in 2000, being elevated to the rank of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and in 2010 to that of Officer.