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 the most prestigious international concert venues. He has played with orchestras including the Boston Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the Zürich Tonhalle. 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, Ondine and Melodiya ranges widely from Bach and Vivaldi to the contemporary. 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 are a CD book set released by violin dealers Bein & Fushi, with Oliveira showcasing thirty exquisite Stradivaris and Guarneri del Gesús, and then a CD of short pieces highlighting the Library of Congress Collection of rare violins on Biddulph Recordings.
Elmar Oliveira, has recently announced the inception of the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. This competition, will run every three years, is open to any violinist of any nationality between the ages of 16-32 and will not offer only cash prizes, but concerts and career support as well. The Inaugural competition will take place at the Lynn Conservatory of Music, where Elmar Oliveira is Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, January 23 – February 5, 2017.
Additionally, Elmar Oliveira has founded the John Oliveira String Competition, an internal competition at the Lynn Conservatory of Music which is a yearly competition open to all string students at the school. The competition was founded last year in memory of Elmar Oliveira’s late brother, the violinist John Oliveira.
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.
Attended the Hartt College of Music, University of Hartford
Attended the Manhattan School of Music
Honorary Doctorate, Manhattan School of Music
Honorary Doctorate, University of Binghamton
The first thing I do when I approach teaching a new student is try to eliminate or correct bad physical habits that prevent he or she from expressing their musical ideas freely. I believe that teaching is a multi-layered experience, and correcting bad habits is only scratching the surface. Musical understanding is a much more complicated issue. I try to expose my students to a complete variety of musical styles. Only by playing the repertoire of the various periods of musical composition and guiding them through the understanding of these styles will a student develop their own individual comfort and confidence. Being a successful performer depends on the synthesis of these two elements.