Ida Kavafian enjoys an international reputation as one of the most versatile musicians performing today. With a repertoire as diverse as her talents, Ms. Kavafian has electrified stages as a recitalist as well as a soloist with major orchestras across the globe. For over 25 years, Ms. Kavafian has been the artistic director of the highly successful festival, Music from Angel Fire, in New Mexico. A graduate of Juilliard studying with Oscar Shumsky, she made her NY debut under Young Concert Artists. As the Kavafian Duo, she appears frequently with her sister, violinist Ani Kavafian. Together they have performed in recital as well as with the symphonies of Detroit, Colorado, Tucson, San Antonio, and Cincinnati, and have recorded the music of Mozart and Sarasate on the Nonesuch label. They were featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NBC’s Today Show and celebrated the 25th anniversary of their first performance together at Carnegie Hall in the fall of 2008. Ms. Kavafian has also appeared in a solo feature on CBS Sunday Morning.
Ida continues her association with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with a number of appearances in New York and on tour. Recent orchestral highlights include appearances with Pacific Symphony in Fire and Blood, with New Mexico Symphony, Midland (Michigan) Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, and Florida West Coast Symphony. The 2009-10 season saw the release of two world premiere recordings representing the wide range of Ida Kavafian – Fire and Blood by Michael Daugherty with the Detroit Symphony, Neeme Jarvi conducting, and two string quartets by the Bluegrass virtuoso, Mark O’Connor.
Ms. Kavafian’s commitment to contemporary music has led to many world premieres by composers such as Toru Takemitsu, who wrote a concerto for her, and to tours and recordings with jazz greats Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis as well as Mark O’Connor. She gave the world premiere of Daugherty’s concerto, Fire and Blood, with the Detroit Symphony under Neeme Järvi, and went on to perform it in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers’ Orchestra and with the National Symphony of Mexico. In past seasons she performed Fire and Blood at the Interlochen Arts Academy (and with them on tour), where she spent much of her musical youth, and from which she received the coveted Alumni Award.
Since her founding membership in the innovative group TASHI, Ida Kavafian’s chamber music appearances have included many renowned festivals and series throughout the world. She has toured and recorded as violist with the Guarneri String Quartet. During her six-year tenure as the violinist of the legendary Beaux Arts Trio, the group was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America and received a Grammy nomination. She formed the ensemble Opus One with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violist Steven Tenenbom and cellist Peter Wiley, which recently commissioned and premiered a new works by George Tsontakis, Marc Neikrug, Lowell Liebermann and Stephen Hartke. She is a frequent guest artist with ensembles such as the Orion, American and Shanghai string quartets.
Born in Istanbul, of Armenian descent, Ms. Kavafian immigrated to the United States with her family when she was three. She began her studies at age six with Ara Zerounian, continued with Mischa Mischakoff, and ultimately earned her master’s degree, with honors, from the Juilliard School, where she was a student of Oscar Shumsky. In addition to serving on the faculties of the Curtis Institute and the Bard College Conservatory, she joined that of The Juilliard School for the academic year 2012-13, and has served on numerous competition juries and boards, including Chamber Music America.
Ida Kavafian made her New York debut with pianist Peter Serkin, as a winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and also received the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. Her violin is a J.B. Guadagnini, made in Milan in 1751, and her viola was made in 1987 by Peter and Wendela Moes.
Ms. Kavafian has found equal success outside of music in the breeding, training and showing of prize winning Vizsla dogs. Residents of Connecticut and Philadelphia, she and her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom are the proud breeders and owners of the 2003 Number One Vizsla in the US, and the 2007 National Champion.