”No praise can be too high for violinist Dunja Lavrova. She proves herself on a level of the great fiddlers of the past"- The Independent (UK)
Russian-British violinist Dunja Lavrova is a performer, tutor, arranger and innovator who focuses on creative projects that blend musical genres and performance traditions. Dunja transcends the traditional norms and expectations of classical violinists, drawing on her extensive training and professional performance experience, as well as her experience as an improviser and educator.
Dunja began her musical studies in St Petersburg, Russia, where she attended the legendary Special Music School for Exceptionally Gifted Children. During her studies there she won numerous competitions, toured Germany and Peru, and frequently appeared on National Television, feats all achieved by the age of 11. At just 13 years of age, Dunja won a full scholarship at The Yehudi Menuhin School and migrated to the UK. Dunja continued her education at the Royal College of Music, completing both Bachelor and Postgraduate performance qualifications there. She won various awards during this time, most notably The Tagore Gold Medal, presented to her by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, and the Young Artist of the Year at the Arts Club, Mayfair, presented by Sir David Attenborough.
She has participated in masterclasses with some of the world’s best-renowned professors, including Mstislav Rostropovich, Igor Oistrakh, Pierre Amoyal, Zahar Bron, Zvi Zeitlin, Dora Schwarzberg, Robert Levin and many others.
Dunja has performed as concerto soloist with various orchestras, including the Russian National Television and Radio Orchestra, The Concert Orchestra of St Petersburg, English Symphony Orchestra, Russian Virtuosi of Europe, Kent Sinfonia, King's Chamber Orchestra (London), Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra, London Concertante and others. She has also performed in world-renowned venues, such as Russia's Philharmonia Grand Hall in St Petersburg, Moscow's Bol’shoy Theatre; London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, Kings Place, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Soho Jazz Club and Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club; and has performed in many other concerts and festivals around the U.K., Europe, Russia and South America.
As a chamber musician, Dunja has given recitals at various prestigious venues in London such as Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Soho Jazz Club and appeared on French National Television with Ensemble Metamusika, of which she is the Leader and Director.
Fanatical about the playing style of the violinists of the early 20th century and on a self-proclaimed mission to bring the scores and the playing style of that period to the audiences of today, Dunja released her highly acclaimed ‘authentically-recorded’ debut album in 2015, after signing a record deal with Solo Musica / Naxos.The album, entitled 'My Dusty Gramophone', was produced in the style of mid-20th century studio records: it was recorded on vintage equipment using live takes and mastered on analogue tape with minimal reverb. The album has received numerous raving reviews and significant media attention worldwide, including airplays on BBC Radio 3, a review in BBC Music Magazine and a full feature in Classical Music Magazine' s May 2015 issue.
As an internationally-acclaimed classical violinist with a deep understanding of non-classical genres, free improvisation and score arranging, Dunja has participated in collaborative projects with a number of musicians from eclectic backgrounds. Dunja frequently performs with various Jazz, Pop and Rock artists, including well known artists such as: Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Liane Carroll, Gwylim Simcock, Cliff Richard,Il Divo and many others. In collaborative contexts, she has appeared on dozens of CD albums, which have received releases and critical acclaim worldwide.
Dunja has also regularly led string sections alongside Big Bands, including the sold-outperformance of 'Music of Bond' with Kate Ceberano in Melbourne in 2019. Since 2012, Dunja has been a member of the John Wilson Orchestra, a group that explores the cinematic and musical repertoire and the performing style of Hollywood’s orchestras from the first half of the 20th century.
In 2015, Dunja became the Leader of the London Symphonic Rock Orchestra, a group that tours extensively with world's greatest tribute bands, including Sweden's Abbamania: The Show and Denmark's Queen Machine. She is the orchestra leader in Showtime Australia's The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show, and performed regularly for London's West End Production of The Book of Mormon.
The musical projects of which Dunja is creative director are characterised by their eclecticism, spontaneity and creativity. These projects range from her authentically-recorded debut classical album and her vintage-themed, narrated performances, through to the electrifying videos on her YouTube channel, a spellbinding Jazz Fusion project and her surprising arrangements of Rock anthems for strings. Most recently, Dunja has created a show with internationally-acclaimed, Melbourne-based pianist Tamara Vasilevitsky, which showcases a broad spectrum of musical genres and has been performed on multiple occasions to sold-out audiences.
Dunja is creator, director and lead arranger of Dunja Lavrova and The Hot Three, which features her as lead violin virtuoso soloist supported by a jazz trio. This project involves a fusion of music from the classical, traditional jazz and vintage Hollywood traditions, along with an original and modern twist.
In 2017, Dunja became an editor of archived scores for Carl Fischer Music, a company responsible for publishing the most popular transcriptions by the legendary violinists of the Golden Age Era, including Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler and Misha Elman, among many others.
Continuing in that great tradition, Dunja enjoys arranging, transcribing and composing music herself, and has supplied her arrangements in a professional capacity to performers and institutions alike.
Dunja’s most popular arrangement is of the Russian song Dark Eyes, her performance of which has been viewed over 100,000 times on YouTube.
Since April 2019, Dunja has been based in Melbourne, Australia.