For the ICMA 2023 (International Classical Music Award) awarded violinist Julia Smirnova is currently an artist in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium, where she is studying with Augustin Dumay. She performs on a violin made by Joseph filius Andrea Guarneri in 1710.
Julia was born in Komsomolsk on Amur in Russia and since 2017 has been studying at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin, first with Professor Antje Weithaas and then later with Professor Stephan Picard. In 2021 Smirnova received the DAAD Prize as the best foreign student for exceptional artistic achievement. Julia Smirnova is also a prize winner in numerous international competitions including the II. Alberto Lysy Violin Competition in Gstaad, the Ibolyka-Gyarfas-Stiftung Violin Competition in Berlin and the III. Vladimir Spivakov International Violin Competition in Ufa.
Smirnova also performs regularly as a chamber musician. In 2022 she released her debut CD with cellist Konstantin Manaev, “The Songs of our Neighbours”, featuring premier recordings of works by composers Aziza Sadikova and Johanna Doderer. The album was nominated for the Opus Klassik Award 2022 in the categories “Best Chamber Music Recording“ and
“Young Artist of the Year”. As the “New Classic Duo”, the two exceptional musicians dedicate themselves primarily to contemporary music, which appeals to a wide audience beyond specialist circles. In the same year they gave the world premier of the double concerto “Garden of Animals” by Gordon Hamilton with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker in a sold out Tonhalle
Julia Smirnova has been invited to perform at various festivals, including Flagey Festival, hören:sitzendorf in Austria, Eggenfeld Klassisch, the Klangwerkstatt und Randspiele for contemporary music in Berlin, the
Diaghilev Festival in Perm and the Encuentro de Musica y Academia in Santander. In the summer of 2021 Smirnova participated in the Kronberg
Academy Masterclasses with Professor Pavel Vernikov.
In the past year, Smirnova made her debut as soloist in the Berliner Philharmonie with the Hauptstadt-Sinfonieorchester.
Smirnova has been part of the Yehudi Menuhin – Live Music Now Foundation since 2018.
Cellist Konstantin Manaev is regarded as one of the most versatile and sought-after artists of his generation. He regularly performs as soloist in concert halls throughout Europe.
Konstantin’s repertoire is extraordinarily broad, encompassing works from the earliest Baroque to contemporary music.
Konstantin Manaev has been nominated twice for the OPUS KLASSIK 2022 awards in the categories “Young Talent of the Year” and “Best Chamber Music Recording of the Year” for his two new albums (“Love Stories” with pianist Danae Dörken and “The Songs of Our Neighbours” with violinist Julia Smirnova).
Many modern composers have dedicated new works to Konstantin including the well known Austrian composer Johanna Doderer, whos cello concerto he premiered this year.
Konstantin has won numerous international music competitions and regularly plays as a soloist with renowned orchestras in Europe.
According to Remy Franck of Luxembourg’s Pizzicato Magazine, “Manaev is a sovereign master of his instrument and able to call from it all possibilities of virtuosity, impulsiveness, intensity and lyrical smoothness.”
The current season brings the world premiere recording of a double concerto for cello and violin by Australian composer and conductor Gordon Hamilton, concerts with Signum Saxophone Quartet at Alte Oper Frankfurt and at the Stradivari Festival in Cremona, as well as his solo debut with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra.
Konstantin plays a cello by Johannes Theodorus Cuypers (1762).