Life’s joys and sorrows receive rich expression in the music-making of Nemanja Radulović. The Franco-Serbian violinist, praised by Gramophone for his “truly exquisite technique and tone” and “spirit of freedom”, stands in the great tradition of virtuoso performers, one of those rare artists open to the full range of human emotions and able to communicate them through his instrument. Radulović’s desire to broaden the boundaries of classical music and reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds has attracted many new listeners and offered fresh insights into the violin’s repertoire. “I’m not trying to give a history lesson, or a tutorial in how to play the violin,” he observes. “I just want the audience to feel true emotions through the music I play.”
Nemanja Radulović made his international breakthrough in 2006 when he replaced Maxim Vengerov as soloist in a critically acclaimed performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Myung-Whun Chung. He gave his recital debut at Carnegie Hall the following year as part of the international Rising Stars scheme, securing what the New York Times described as “a tumultuous ovation”.
In the last few seasons he has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras, such as the Münchner Philharmoniker, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Recent highlights include a critically acclaimed residency with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (2016–17); performances of the Barber Violin Concerto with the Orchestre national d’Île de France and Alexandre Bloch at the Philharmonie de Paris (March 2017), Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 with Simone Young and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo (June 2017), Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.2 with Eiji Oue and the Orchestra della Toscana in Tuscany (February 2018) and the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with Sascha Goetzel and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (March 2018); and a European tour with the I, CULTURE Orchestra, featuring visits to the Radio France Festival in Montpellier and Copenhagen’s Tivoli Concert Hall (July 2018). Radulović is also passionate about chamber music and has performed at such leading international venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Paris’s Salle Pleyel and Théatre des Champs-Élysées, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and the Melbourne Recital Centre. He has recently established a special new collaboration with clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer, accordionist Ksenija Sidorova and pianist Laure Favre-Kahn, with whom he appeared at the Schleswig-Holstein, Gstaad, Périgord Noir and Impérial Annecy festivals.
Radulović signed an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon contract in 2014. Journey East, his international debut for the Yellow Label, was released in February 2015. Presenting a programme of music rooted in Eastern Europe – with works by Brahms, Dvořák and Khachaturian, among others – the Echo Award-winning album, dedicated by the artist to his mother, is full of very personal resonances. It was followed in October 2016 by Bach, in which Radulović appears as violin and viola soloist in J.S. Bach’s Double Concerto in D minor and Concerto for violin and strings in A minor, Henri Casadesus’ Viola Concerto in C minor in the style of Johann Christian Bach, and original arrangements of popular pieces by J.S. Bach. On his next DG album, Tchaikovsky, released in September 2017, he played the composer’s Violin Concerto and Rococo Variations, the latter in a new arrangement for viola and chamber orchestra. Radulović’s latest album, Baïka, released on 9 November 2018, features Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto and Trio for clarinet, violin and piano; a new symphonic suite by Aleksandar Sedlar based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade; and Sedlar’s Savcho 3, inspired by traditional tunes from around the Black Sea coast.
Radulović’s earlier discography includes an album of Mendelssohn’s violin concertos with the Prague Chamber Orchestra; a recording of works by Kreisler, Sarasate, Schubert, Wieniawski, Tartini and Vitali with his ensemble The Devil’s Trills; Les 5 Saisons, an album of works by Vivaldi and Aleksandar Sedlar with his other ensemble, Double Sens; a disc of Beethoven violin sonatas with regular duo partner Susan Manoff; and an all-Paganini album released in 2013 by Deutsche Grammophon France and selected as an “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone.
Nemanja Radulović was born in 1985 in Niš, then part of Yugoslavia. He was introduced to the violin at the age of seven and showed remarkable aptitude for the instrument. Encouraged by his musical family he went to a local music school where it was discovered that he possessed perfect pitch. He then completed the school’s three-year training programme within the space of two weeks. Six months after holding a violin for the first time, he made his public debut as soloist in one of Vivaldi’s concertos.
Music was always the oxygen for him and his family, in happy times and during the difficult years of the Yugoslavian wars. “My mother was a doctor. She was doing humanitarian work on the front line, saving people, so we were very aware of the war,” Radulović recalls. “Music helped us maintain a normal life and gave us real happiness. That is when I first appreciated the power of music. It’s something I have never forgotten.”
In the late 1990s Radulović took lessons from Joshua Epstein at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Saarbrücken and from Dejan Mihailović at the Faculty of Arts and Music in Belgrade. Soon after his fourteenth birthday he moved with his family to Paris, where he studied with renowned French violinist Patrice Fontanarosa at the Conservatoire de Paris. In 2001 he won the first prize at the George Enescu International Competition, storming to victory two years later at the Joseph Joachim International Competition in Hanover. He was named “International Revelation of the Year” at the prestigious Victoires de la musique classique awards in Paris in 2005; nine years later, he returned to accept their “Instrumental Soloist of the Year” award. He then went on to win the 2015 Echo Klassik “Newcomer of the Year” Award (for Journey East).
Highlights of Nemanja Radulović’s 2018–19 season include a recital tour of Japan and Korea with Laure Favre-Kahn; performances in Liverpool of the Khachaturian Concerto – a key work of the season – with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko; a Bach/Vivaldi programme with the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker and Dan Ettinger at venues in Italy and Germany; further performances of the Khachaturian with Sascha Goetzel and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany, the Netherlands and France; and appearances with Ensemble Double Sens in France and Switzerland.