“In short, a fantastic talent”(Gramophone)
Leila Josefowicz’s passionate advocacy of contemporary music for the violin is reflected in her diverse programmes and enthusiasm for performing new works. A favourite of living composers, Josefowicz has premiered many concertos, including those by Colin Matthews, Luca Francesconi, John Adams and Esa-Pekka Salonen, all written specially for her.
Following summer performances at Sun Valley Music Festival and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Josefowicz’s season begins with a return to Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Susanna Mälkki and the Austrian premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s Assonanza with Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Wien Modern Festival. The 2022/23 season sees the introduction of Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto into Josefowicz’s repertoire which she premieres with St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, and, as part of a special triple bill of three contemporary concerti by Hartmann, Adès and Grime, with Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Dalia Stasevska. Further orchestral dates include Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, and Vancouver, Detroit and Atlanta symphonies, and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, NDR Elbphilharmonie and Valencia Symphony Orchestra.
Highlights of recent seasons include working with Berliner Philharmoniker, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Royal Concertgebouworkest, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Oslo Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, The Cleveland, and The Philadelphia orchestras, where she worked with conductors at the highest level, including Matthias Pintscher, John Storgårds, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Louis Langrée, Hannu Lintu and John Adams. Josefowicz enjoyed a close working relationship with the late Oliver Knussen, performing various concerti, including his violin concerto, together over 30 times. Other premieres have included John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 with New York Philharmonic, Luca Francesconi’s Duende – The Dark Notes with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Steven Mackey’s Beautiful Passing with BBC Philharmonic.
Alongside Novacek, with whom she has enjoyed a close collaboration since 1985, Josefowicz has performed recitals at world-renowned venues such as New York’s Zankel Hall and Park Avenue Armory, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress and London’s Wigmore Hall, as well as in Reykjavik, Chicago, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. This season their collaboration continues with recitals in Italy, Spain, Canada, and the US.
Josefowicz has released several recordings, notably for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips/Universal and Warner Classics and was featured on Touch Press’s acclaimed iPad app, The Orchestra. Her latest recording, released in 2019, features Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Violin Concerto with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. She has previously received nominations for Grammy Awards for her recordings of Scheherazade.2 with St Louis Symphony conducted by David Robertson, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.
In recognition of her outstanding achievement and excellence in music, she won the 2018 Avery Fisher Prize and was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, joining prominent scientists, writers and musicians who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.
HarrisonParrott represents Leila Josefowicz for worldwide general management.
“One could only marvel at Josefowicz’s technical prowess and expressive depth.”
“Josefowicz whipped up into a storm, the violin line — with its determined, tenacious double stops and aggressive glissando skips — acting as lone voice in a cluttered, cosmopolitan landscape.”
“Josefowicz became Adams’ “dream,” easily navigating the concerto’s difficulties, flowing through and floating above the orchestra.”
“Josefowicz brought ferociously raw expression to the opening “Recitative” and a poignant lyricism to a too-moving-for-words central “Aria.” Then she turned the “Gigue” into a gripping dance of life and death.”
“Josefowicz’s fierce commitment to a solo part that never parades virtuosity for its own sake, but also because its challenges always serve a searching and rewardingly complex musical argument.”
“Josefowicz, who played with stunning brilliance, (…) her high-voltage presence being as striking as dance.”
“Josefowicz is magnificent throughout, whether negotiating ferocious technical challenges or playing with gentle lyrical wonder”
“Leila Josefowicz is just the right kind of violinist: tough, uncompromising, always ready to do battle with the band and to soar, exhilaratingly, above it.”
“This must be one of the 20th century’s most challenging violin and piano works [Zimmermann’s 1950 Sonata], and these two dispatched it with terrific verve.”
“Ms. Josefowicz seized on every phrase of the violin part to bring out its character and musical content. She made the most of each moment, playing with brightness, mystery, eagerness”
“From breathless pyrotechnic explosions to the episodes of expressive (but still steely) lyricism, [Leila Josefowicz] brought every corner of the work to light like a majestic tragedian.”
“Josefowicz’s musicianship is one of a kind — completely in tune with the shifting emotional landscape of Adams’ harmonic musical language, which is complex, but not in the over-intellectualized, 20th-century avant-garde way. Its complexity reflects first and foremost the emotional complexity of the musical content. Josefowicz brought all these layers to life.”
“Duende: The Dark Notes revealed itself to be a richly imagined score in this performance by the violinist Leila Josefowicz under the baton of Susanna Mälkki. Playing with wonderful virtuosity, Josefowicz commanded a part that scarcely rests and forms an almost constant aspect of the soundscape.”
“What would a Scheherazade for our own time be like? This work offers John Adams’ answer in the portrait of a beautiful, empowered and fearless woman confronting oppression. He described the brilliant Leila Josefowicz, for whom he wrote this work in a commission from the New York Philharmonic, as the embodiment of his heroine as a fearless and empowered artist. Long an Adams champion, Ms Josefowicz gave a dazzling and inspired performance.”
“Josefowicz, for whom Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto was written, plays with confidence and fizzing energy”