Fields of study:
Degrees and studies:
Moscow conservatory, Gnesin Institute, studies with Yuri Yankelevich, Vladimir Spivakov. Artist diploma; D.M.A., Gnesin institute, Moscow
Violinist Lara Lev, a citizen of Finland, was born in Siberia, in the former USSR. She studied first in the Kazan Special School of Music with Prof. Vadim Afanasiev, and later in the Moscow Conservatory as well as the Gnesin Institute of Music. Her teachers in Moscow were Prof. Yurij Yankelevich and Prof. Vladimir Spivakov. Ms. Lev graduated there with highest honors, receiving an Artist Diploma and DMA degree.
Ms. Lev has been active in pedagogical work all through her career. In 2008, Ms. Lev joined the Chamber Music Faculty at the Juilliard School. She coaches college level chamber music groups and, since 2009, also those of the Pre-College Division. In the academic year 2009 to 2010 she also led the Pre-College String Orchestra. From 2006 to 2010 she was a member of the violin faculty of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, Germany. After her move to Finland in 1989, she joined the faculty of the Oulu Conservatory, working there and in other Finnish Conservatories and Polytechnics (Jyväskylä, Turku, Tampere) before starting to teach in 2003 at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, coaching Masters and DMA students. She started her teaching career in Russia, with positions at some of the country's leading schools: at the Gnesin Institute, Moscow, from 1974 to 1980, as assistant to Prof.Vladimir Spivakov, and from 1983 to 1989 in the faculty of the Odessa Conservatory. Ms. Lev often gives master classes, e.g. in France (Colmar), Poland (Lancut), Israel, Germany, Slovakia, TIHMS Holland, Finland and Spain. Lara Lev has been a jury member of international violin competitions, and her students have taken many first prizes in them: Sini-Maaria Simonen was the winner of the Solo Violin Competition in Cremona, as well as the top prize winner in International Lipizer Violin Competition, the winner Carl Flesch Competition, etc.; Jong Eun Lee was a prizewinner in the Sarasate Competition in Spain; Leonard Fu in the Postacchini Violin Competition in Italy. Other notable former students include Cora Venus Lunny and Alex Rosik.
Lara Lev has earned a reputation as a fine virtuoso, but she also has some even more rare traits. She has always had a special interest in seldom-heard, unjustly neglected masterpieces, as well as in new music. Already while in the USSR, she took an active part in the "Sojuz Kompositorov" society for contemporary music, giving first performances of several new works.
While in the USSR, she often performed as soloist with top-level chamber orchestras ("Moscow Virtuosos", "Moscow Soloists") and with several symphony orchestras. She also worked as a soloist of the Odessa Philharmonia, and as the First Violin of the Odessa Conservatory Quartet.
Since becoming Finnish Citizen in the 1990's, she performed often in Finland with symphony and chamber orchestras. In her recitals, besides performing large cycles of the standard repertoire such as the complete 24 Caprices by Paganini (in one concert), the complete solo violin music of J.S. Bach (in one concert) or the complete Beethoven sonatas (in two evenings), Ms. Lev has continued to pursue her innovative repertory policy. She has done several recordings for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, featuring major works for violin and piano: the Shostakovich Violin Sonata Op.134, Bartok's Second Sonata, etc., as well as virtuoso miniatures such as the transcriptions by Jascha Heifetz.
Her repertory preferences are reflected also in her concerto list. It includes works that merit hearing more often than they get, such as the concerti by Busoni, Hartmann or Pfitzner. Also, during her stay in Finland, Ms. Lev acquired many contemporary Finnish Violin Concertos in her repertoire. The conductors she has worked with include Vladimir Spivakov, Lev Markiz, Saulius Sondetskis, Georgi Godzheridze, Daniel Raiskin, Ari Rasilainen, Hannu Koivula, Heikki Rautasalo, and others.
Ms. Lev is now resident in New York City. Her recent performances include recitals, festivals in Tel Aviv, Berlin, New York, Helsinki, Madrid, Vienna, Oslo, etc. Ms. Lev's recording of the Complete Solo Violin Music of J.S.Bach was published as a 2-CD set by Warner Classics (Apex). The publication of a Finlandia Records/Warner Classics CD of the Complete Violin-Piano Sonatas by Ferruccio Busoni, The CD was elected for "Strad Selection" by Strad Magazine and received a full five-star rating from BBC Music Magazine. Ms. Lev has performed with several eminent pianists, like Cyprien Katsaris, Lexo Toradze, Robert McDonald.