Isabelle - profile

Isabelle Faust


Isabelle Faust shares the MCO’s passion for chamber music. This has always been at the core of her artistic relationship with MCO, and will be deepened and intensified over the course of her seasons as one of the MCO’s Artistic Partners.

Isabelle Faust and the MCO worked together for the first time in 2008, on an Italian tour under the direction of Daniel Harding. The chemistry between the MCO and Isabelle was immediately right, and further joint projects followed.

The MCO and Isabelle Faust collaborated on a Brahms recording in 2010, which was produced during a tour across Spain in 2010, also under the baton of Daniel Harding. The recording combines Brahms’ Violin Concerto and his String Sextet. It is this kind of combination that set the path for her Artistic Partnership with the MCO.

During the following seasons, Isabelle Faust will appear as soloist and as chamber musician with the MCO, creating special programmes that combine orchestral and chamber music. A highlight will be her appearance as both soloist and leader of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.


Why have you dedicated your life to music? I grew up with chamber music. My parents played string quartet once a month at our home, ever since I was born, and I continued this tradition by founding a string quartet myself when I was 11.

What is the biggest difference for you between playing chamber music and playing as a soloist with an orchestra? When I started to play as a soloist at age 15, I was a bit puzzled at first by the role that a soloist in front of an orchestra seemed to have to play. Over the years I have found a way of passing on to orchestras the notion of giving and receiving, of installing a real chamber music-like dialogue on stage – even with more than 4 partners present.

Why have you chosen to join the Mahler Chamber Orchestra as an Artistic Partner? The MCO has been one of the few groups who immediately understood this ‘bigger size chamber music making.’ It seemed so natural for them, and just what all of the players wanted. For sure, working a lot with Claudio Abbado has trained every single musician in this orchestra to always listenand answer, and react to what happens musically on stage. It's an enormous honor and pleasure to have been chosen one of the Artistic Partners of such a passionate group, playing on the highest leveland always in total service to music.


Isabelle Faust captivates her listeners through her insightful and faithful interpretations, based on a thorough knowledge of the historical context of the works, as well as her attention to current scholarship.

At an early age, Isabelle Faust won the prestigious Leopold Mozart and Paganini competitions and was soon invited to appear with the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo. She continues to be one of the most sought-after violinists in the world.

Isabelle Faust performs a wide-ranging repertoire, from J.S Bach all the way through to contemporary composers such as Ligeti, Lachenmann and Widmann. Ever keen to explore new musical horizons, Faust is equally at home as a chamber musician and as a soloist with major orchestras or period ensembles. To highlight this versatility, in addition to her mastery of the greatsymphonic violin concertos, Isabelle Faust also performs works such as Kurtág's Kafka Fragmentswith the soprano Christine Schäfer, or Brahms' and Mozart's clarinet quintets on historical instruments.

Over the course of her career, Isabelle Faust has regularly performed or recorded with world-renowned conductors, including Frans Brüggen, Mariss Jansons, Giovanni Antonini, Philippe Herreweghe, Daniel Harding and Bernard Haitink.

During recent years Isabelle Faust developed a close relationship with the late Claudio Abbado and performed and recorded under his baton. Their recording of Beethoven's and Berg's violin concertos with the Orchestra Mozart received a Diapason d'or (France), an Echo Klassik (Germany), a Gramophone Award 2012 (UK), and also a Record Academy Award (Japan).

Faust has made over a dozen critically-acclaimed recordings for harmonia mundi, spanning concertos, quartets, quintets and solo recitals. In 2010, her recording of Bach's Sonatas and Partitasfor solo violin was awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'Annee. She also won a Diapason d'Or and a Gramophone Award for her recording of Beethoven's Sonatas for Piano and Violin with recital partner Alexander Melnikov.

Isabelle Faust plays the 'Sleeping Beauty' Stradivarius (1704), kindly on loan by the L-Bank Baden-Württemberg.