Julia Sakharova, violinist of the Arianna String Quartet, is an internationally established concert artist, known for her performances as soloist, orchestra performer, and chamber musician. She has been described by critics as projecting “incredible temperament, very fine sensitivity, and remarkable colors” and hailed for her “technically thrilling” and “powerful musical personality.” Before joining the Arianna String Quartet she served as Assistant Concertmaster with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, was a member of the Albany Symphony in New York, and was a founding member of the acclaimed Erato String Quartet.
At the age of eight, Ms. Sakharova made her solo orchestral debut with the Moldova Philharmonic Orchestra. She has since appeared on numerous stages including Alice Tully Hall, Steinway Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Library of Congress. She has performed in numerous festivals, recitals, tours, and competitions across her native Russia, Western and Southern Europe, Japan, South America, and the United States.
In 1999, after graduating from Moscow’s prestigious Central Special Music School under the renowned Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Ms. Sakharova moved to the U.S. to continue her education at Oberlin College, studying with Taras Gabora, Almita Vamos and Milan Vitek. A year later she made her West Coast solo debut at the Getty Center with composer and conductor John Williams and the Oberlin Orchestra. In 2006 she earned a master’s degree from the Juilliard School studying with Donald Weilerstein. While at Juilliard, she made her New York City orchestral debut under the baton of Maestro Mark Stringer and the Juilliard Orchestra, as well as her chamber music debut at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Subsequently, she received a certificate for orchestral performance from the Manhattan School of Music studying with Glenn Dicterow and Lisa Kim of the New York Philharmonic.
In addition to the Arianna String Quartet’s ongoing recording project with Centaur of the entire Beethoven Cycle, Ms. Sakharova was featured on Rachmaninoff's Elegiaque Piano Trios (Tavros Records) and on the recent 2014 release of Sean Hickey’s Cursive – Piano and Chamber Works (Delos). Mr. Hickey dedicated Ampersand, a work for violin and piano, to Ms. Sakharova, which she debuted at a 2006 Steinway Hall recital. A variety of other performances have also been featured in radio broadcasts on WQXR's “Young Artists Showcase,” KMZT's “Sundays Live”, Cleveland's WCLV, and on St. Louis’ KWMU. Ms. Sakharova's film score credits include Mimzy, The Perfect Stranger, and The Brave One.
Her competition credits include first prize at the International Competition for the Music of Eastern & Central Europe, Top Prize at the Olga Koussevitzky Competition for Strings, a top prize at the Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition, and the first prize of the 2001 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition.
Ms. Sakharova has performed at festivals including the Music Academy of the West, Festival International de Colmar, the Verbier Festival & Academy, Keshet Eilon Violin Mastercourse, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival.
Currently, Ms. Sakharova serves on the violin faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. As a dedicated educator, she has conducted master classes at the University of Iowa School of Music, Alabama School of Fine Arts, and Birmingham Southwestern College. She has also taught and appeared on stage at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Music Mountain Chamber Series, Madeline Island Music Camp and the Femusc Festival in Brazil. Her residencies include the Peabody Conservatory, Oberlin College, Northern Illinois University, and Northwestern University. At the 2014 American String Teacher Association National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. Sakharova, along with the Arianna String Quartet and her husband Clay McKinney, presented on the topic “Build a better phrase, build a better ensemble. Mapping the bow to achieve destination."
The Arianna String Quartet is Ensemble-in-Residence at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis, where they present their own series of concerts. Ms. Sakharova plays an 1819 Rafaelle and Antonio Gagliano.