Founder & Artistic Director
Elmar Oliveira is an American violinist whose remarkable combination of impeccable artistry and old- world elegance sets him apart as one of our most celebrated living artists. Oliveira remains the first and only American violinist to win the Gold Medal at Moscow's prestigious Tchaikovsky International Competition. He was the first violinist to receive the coveted Avery Fisher Prize and won First Prize at the Naumburg International Competition.
Son of Portuguese immigrants, Oliveira was nine when he began studying the violin with his brother, John Oliveira and then attended the Hartt College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He holds honorary doctorates from both the Manhattan School of Music and Binghamton University. In 1997, the Prime Minister of Portugal
awarded Elmar the country's highest civilian accolade, The Order of Santiago.
Oliveira has performed regularly at many of the most prestigious international concert venues. He has appeared with such esteemed Symphony Orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as the Philharmonics of Helsinki, London, Los Angeles, New York, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Zürich Tonhalle, among many others. He has also made extensive recital tours of North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East.
Oliveira’s discography on Artek, Angel, SONY Masterworks, Vox, Delos, IMP, Naxos, Ondineand Melodiya ranges widely from Bach and Vivaldi to contemporary works that are swiftly becoming pillars of the violin repertoire. His best-selling recording of the Rautavaara Violin Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic won a Cannes Classical Award and was chosen as Gramophone's “Editor's Choice”. He also received Grammy nominations for his recordings of both the Barber Concerto with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony and the Bloch and Benjamin Lees Violin Concertos under the baton of John McGlaughlin Williams.
Other recording highlights include the Brahms and Saint-Saëns concertos with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, the Joachim Concerto with the London Philharmonic, the complete Brahms sonatas with Jorge Federico Osorio, and the rarely heard Respighi and Pizzetti sonatas with pianist Robert Koenig.
Two projects of particular historical significance: The Miracle Makers: Stradivari • Guarneri • Oliveira, a coffee-table sized book and three-CD set which compares and contrasts thirty exquisite violins by Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù; and a release of short pieces highlighting the Library of Congress Collection of rare violins on Biddulph Recordings, speak to Oliveira’s extreme dedication to preserving and highlighting the violin and critical makers of the past as well as those that are important to the development of the instrument today.
In 2016 Elmar Oliveira announced the creation of the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. This competition—that takes place every three years—is open to any violinist of any nationality between the ages of 16-32 and offers critical career support in the form of artist management and public relations as well as cash prizes. The Inaugural competition took place at the Lynn Conservatory of Music, where Elmar Oliveira is Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, January 23 – February 5, 2017. The next competition will be held in January 2020. For more detailed information, please visit the web site www.elmaroliveiraivc.org.
Additionally, Elmar Oliveira has founded the John Oliveira String Competition, an internal competition at the Lynn Conservatory of Music. The annual competition is open to all string students at the school. The competition was founded last year in memory of Elmar Oliveira’s late brother, violinist John Oliveira. For more information, please visit www.john-oliveira.com.
Oliveira is passionate about expanding the role and repertoire of the violin as well as championing contemporary music and unjustly neglected works. He is a devoted teacher and promoter of young artists, and also keenly supports the art of contemporary violin and bow making.
Photo ©Tucker Densley