Stephen Waarts’s innate and individual musical voice is establishing him as a firm favourite with audiences in North America and Europe. His prize-winning success at the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition – including securing the majority vote of the television audience – boosted international attention and follows on from similar accolades at the 2014 Menuhin Competition and the 2013 Montreal International Competition. In 2013 he won the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York, aged just 17.
With a voracious appetite for repertoire, the young Dutch/American violinist has already performed over thirty standard, as well as rarely performed, violin concertos; and is meanwhile building significant experience in recital as well as in a wide range of chamber music. Engagements have recently included his Berlin Konzerthausorchester debut as part of the Menuhin Mayflower concert, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Brussels Philharmonic, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín and Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra. He has made highly successful debut recitals at Merkin Concert Hall, New York; Kennedy Center, Washington DC; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston and the Louvre in Paris.
Following the 2015 Krzyżowa Music Festival in Poland, he was awarded the Mozart Gesellschaft scholarship which will see him work with the Bremer Philharmoniker in the 2016/17 season both in Witten and at the Dortmund Konzerthaus. Other engagements include the 2016 Dubrovnik Summer Festival where he performs in recital and concerto, Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, a six concert tour of Holland with Philharmonie Zuidnederland and his debut recital at the Tonhalle Zürich.
Waarts is currently at the Kronberg Academy studying under Mihaela Martin and recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia where he studied under Aaron Rosand. Prior to this he worked with Itzhak Perlman at the Perlman Music Program and Li Lin at the San Francisco Conservatory.
“Stephen Waarts gave an outstanding debut at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. In a fine program of Beethoven, Bartok, Ravel and Waxman — difficult music, in a range of styles and impeccably rendered — Waarts showed an uncommon, preternatural sense of tonal color and lyrical beauty on the instrument.”
— THE WASHINGTON POST
“Still in his teens, Stephen Waarts, as tall and thin as Ichabod Crane but with an angelic countenance that mirrored his fiddling, played the Brahms Concerto with unreal poise, technical command, and a totally natural sense of musical drama, complementing conductor Maxim Vengerov’s visionary approach and the Montreal Symphony’s inspired playing.”
— STRINGS MAGAZINE
“Mr. Waarts showed himself a technically accomplished and musically insightful artist, though he was most impressive in Bartok’s extraordinary Sonata for Solo Violin. Mr. Waarts, playing commandingly from memory, balanced passages that evolve in the halting dance idiom of the chaconne with rhapsodic stretches that in this gripping account seemed somberly ruminative. He was comparably inspired in the resolute intricate fugue, the searching slow movement marked Melodia, and the frenetic finale.”
— THE NEW YORK TIMES
“Waarts displayed well polished sonorities that were consistently executed with cleanliness and clarity. He played through his part as if nothing Mendelssohn had written posed any unmanageable challenge. This was familiar music; but the execution had a freshness to it. This was a reading that seized attention from the opening notes and held it to the final cadence.”
“From the first note ... I was hooked, and within a few bars, I was moved to tears”
— THE STRAD
(2010 Menuhin Competition in Oslo, Norway)
“In the finale, we saw a return of Waarts’ agility and speed as he and the orchestra flew to a rousing finale. The audience leapt to their feet to give him what is sure to be one of many standing ovations in what is sure to be a stellar career.”
— DAILY REPUBLIC