Few violinists working today can equal the intellectual and musical breadth of artist Alexander Janiczek. “Spellbinding” (the Guardian), “truly astounding...a blistering performance” (the Herald), are typical of words with which the press attempt to describe both the heat of his skill on the instrument, and the deep-centered musicality that Janiczek brings to all his work.
Working these days in all the different roles available to a violinist - as director, soloist, chamber musician and professor - Janiczek's early musical life began in Salzburg, born into a musical family of Polish and Czech descent. Studying with Helmuth Zehetmair, Max Rostal, Nathan Milstein, Ruggiero Ricci and Dorothy DeLay, the young Janiczek won the National Competition of Austria at the age of nine.
International attention first came to be focussed on Janiczek as a result of his work with his legendary teacher, Sándor Végh. A profound and formative mentor to the young artist, Végh appointed Janiczek as concertmaster of his Camerata Salzburg. As a result, from the very start of his career, Janiczek was both directing the orchestra as well as performing, under Végh's baton, works such as the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the Salzburg Festival.
Since then, Janiczek has gone on to appear as a guest director with all of the notable chamber orchestras in Europe. With the Chamber Orchestra of Europe he toured extensively throughout Europe and the Far East, building close musical partnerships with other such distinguished artists as Mitsuko Uchida, as well as directing the COE, to great acclaim, in a disc of Stravinsky's Apollon Musagète and Pulcinella Suite.
In 2011, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra appointed Alexander as Associate Artist, cementing an already extensive creative partnership. Previously concertmaster of the SCO, Janiczek continues to direct them on a regular basis, both in Scotland and abroad, appearing in the 2011/12 season as a soloist with the SCO's principal conductor, Robin Ticciati. As a recording artist, his catalogue with the SCO is distinguished, directing them in a highly respected series of Mozart Serenades for Linn Records, Gramophone label of the year 2010, and for a new disc of Weber concerti.
Among his extensive discography are many other notable recordings, including the Beethoven Symphonies recorded live with La Chambre Philharmonique and Emmanuel Krivine, Sir Simon Rattle's disc of Mahler 8 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and projects with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the Berlioz centenary.
Completing his encyclopaedic knowledge of the violin repertoire, Janiczek plays extensively as a chamber musician. Highlights include his duo work with pianist Llyr Williams, including a cycle of Beethoven and Brahms Sonatas, as well as a Wigmore Hall debut in 2011. Invited by Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode to the Marlboro Music Festival, Janiczek has also appeared in chamber partnerships with artists such as Thomas Adés, Yuri Bashmet, Miklós Perényi, Heinz Holliger and András Schiff.
As the complete modern artist, Janiczek is notably committed to exploring 19th Century performance practice, an interest that was established during the years working with Sir Roger Norrington at Camerata Salzburg. In this field he works with fellow musicians and scholars such as Robert Levin, and Philippe Herreweghe.
Continuing the auspicious tradition of musical pedagogy from which he has inherited so much, Alexander Janiczek is a Professor of Violin at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He plays the ex-‘Sorkin’ Giuseppe Guarneri, del Gesù, Cremona 1731, which is on loan to him from the National Bank of Austria.
Photo © Colin Jackson