Violinist Stephen Waarts has been praised for playing “with technical command and a totally natural sense of musical drama” (Strings Magazine). He has already garnered worldwide recognition, having captured both audience prizes and jury laureate prize in the Queen Elizabeth competition, First Prize, the Bach Prize and the Composer’s Prize at the 2014 Menuhin Competition, First Prize and six additional awards in the 2013 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Second Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2013 Montreal International Competition; and First Prize and romantic Concerto prize in the 2011 International Louis Spohr Competition for Young Violinists
With a voracious appetite for repertoire, the young Dutch/American violinist has already performed nearly fifty violin concertos, including all standard, as well as many rarely performed; and is meanwhile building significant experience in recital as well as in a wide range of chamber music. Engagements have recently included performances with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Brussels Philharmonic, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, all to rave reviews.
He has made highly successful debut recitals at Merkin Concert Hall, New York; Kennedy Center, Washington DC; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; and the Louvre in Paris. Waarts has been a frequent participant of Summer Music Camps including Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Perlman Music Program in New York and Florida, Music@Menlo in California, the Summit Music Festival in New York and Krzyżowa Music festival in Poland. Following the 2015 Krzyżowa Music Festival, he was awarded the Mozart Gesellschaft scholarship which will see him work with the Bremer Philharmoniker in the 2016/17 season
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he started his music education with Suzuki violin lessons with Krishnabai Lewis and continued it with violin lessons with Jenny Rudin and piano studies with Steve Lightburn. Since April 2005 he studied violin with Li Lin at the San Francisco Conservatory, and since June 2006 he also studied piano with Irina Sharogradski. Concurrently, since 2009, he has studied also with Alexander Barantschik, Concertmaster of San Francisco Symphony, and with Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock. After graduating from both high school and the San Francisco Conservatory Preparatory at age 14, he has worked with Aaron Rosand at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he has recently received a bachelor of music while holding the Frank S. Bayley Annual Fellowship.
In addition to his music studies, Waarts is also an accomplished mathematician and has won several national math awards. He plays on a c. 1750 Pietro Guarneri II violin, on loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago. Find more about Waarts at www.stephenwaarts.com.
“Stephen Waarts gave an outstanding debut at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. In a fine program of Beethoven, Bartok, Ravel and Waxman … Waarts showed an uncommon, preternatural sense of tonal color and lyrical beauty on the instrument.”
— THE WASHINGTON POST