15th Contest 2003 – Varvara Ivanova, Russia

After taking First Prize in the 15th International Harp Contest in Israel in 2003, seventeen year old Varvara Ivanova, praised by critics and audiences alike, performed in major concert venues in Western Europe, Russia and Israel. Following her London debut performance in Wigmore Hall with the London Chamber Orchestra conducted by Geoffrey Simon, British critic Edward Johnson wrote: “Ivanova demonstrated that she is a born virtuoso. Her sensitivity, beauty of sound and musicality captured the near-capacity audience … one of the very few harpists who can simultaneously awe and charm.”

In November 2003, Varvara Ivanova, along with winning first prize at the prestigious International Harp Contest in Israel, she received the special award for her performance of Ami Ma’ayani’s “Maqamat”.

Ms. Ivanova was born into a family of musicians in Moscow and at the age of five began her studies at the Preparatory of Moscow Conservatory in the class of M.F. Maslennikova. A child prodigy, she had her first major performance of the Handel’s “Concerto for harp and Orchestra B-dur” at the age of seven at the Big Concert Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with Kremlin Chamber Orchestra.

Throughout her emerging career, Varvara has been awarded major prizes in numerous harp competitions, including first prize at the Lily Laskine Harp Competition, Junior Division, in France and first prize at the Vera Dulova Harp Competition in Russia. She has also been awarded the highly-coveted scholarship from the Rostropovich Music Fund.

In November 2001, Ms. Ivanova replaced Xavier de Maistre, principal harpist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, on one week notice, on a tour in Germany as a soloist with the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra and performed to critical acclaim in Dusseldorf Tonhalle, Hamburg Musikhalle, Munchen Prinzeregentertheater and Frankfurt Alte Oper. A year later, she was a featured soloist at the World Harp Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.

Varvara has also performed as a soloist with other prestigious orchestras, including Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, Primo Allegro Chamber Orchestra and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ms. Ivanova studied at the Music College named after F. Chopin in the class of E.A. Moskvitina in Moscow . Recently, she performed solo and chamber music on a concert tour in Russiaand participated in concerts in London, Paris, Vilnius under the auspices of the Rostropovich Music Fund .

She performed recitals at Bemus Music Festival in Belgrade in 2004, Gstaat Music Festival in Switzerland, Harp Music Festival in Belgrade in 2005 as well as Varvara recitals in Italy.

Varvara presented her New York debut at Merkin Hall and performed a series of concerts in the United States in the Spring of 2005, sponsored by the Victor Salvi Foundation.