Virtuoso Violin Festival 2018

The 17th Virtuoso Violin Festival, to be held in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, in 2018.

The Virtuoso Violin Festival is an annual residential course offering extensive musical training to young musicians aged between 16–35 years of age.  It focuses on the celebration of Bach, Paganini and other string music.

There will be public performances Saturday 4th and Monday 6th of  August, offering the chance to hear some of the best-loved music performed by some of the world’s most promising young musicians. Performers, times and locations will be announced shortly.

The Virtuoso Violin is a Festival celebrating the works of Bach and Paganini plus other string music. There are 20 places available for participants over 16 (on the 1st June 2018)

The Festival

The 17th Virtuoso Violin Festival will take place in the lovely market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, between the 29th July and the 6th of August 2018.  It is also home to the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Orchestra of the Swan. The course is intensive, but students will have time to explore the town and its abundant artistic heritage and also visit London or historic Warwick. The surrounding area is steeped in history, and Stratford is approximately an hour from Oxford. Birmingham, England’s second city, is just over 30 minutes away.

The fee of £750 includes accommodation at Stratford College halls of residence, breakfast, mid morning snack, packed lunch, and all masterclasses, individual tuition, coaching, piano accompaniment and concerts. It does not include evening meals or travel to and from Stratford.  A small bursary fund is available for some who wish to attend.

Festival Concerts

4th August:  Virtuoso Violin Solo Recitals, 7.30 p.m. (admission free)

Festival participants will perform a Final Recital unaccompanied and/or with piano.  Varied repertoire from solo Bach to Classical sonatas, Romantic concertos and show pieces.

Venue: King Edwards School, Chapel Lane (off Church street) CV37 6BE

6th August: The Festival Finale, 8 p.m.

Venue: Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Admission: £13.00, Concessions £10 and under 16s free.

Student violinists will join with the Stratford Virtuosi Orchestra to deliver a concert featuring string music, both old and new.  Musical Director Rimma Sushanskaya and Guest Conductor Roger Mahadeen.

Mendelssohn – Sinfonia No 10.

Mahadeen – MRI Rhapsody,

Robert Matthew-Walker – Variants on a theme of Grieg,

Grieg – Holberg Suite

Concert Tickets will be available at the door.  If you wish to reserve tickets please contact 07801274843


Rimma Sushanskaya, Artistic Director

Rimma Sushanskaya is an international concert violinist, acclaimed throughout the world for her opulent tone colours, her gripping expressive virtuosity, and her ever-present rhythmic vitality. The last pupil of the legendary David Oistrakh, she continues the great Russian tradition of violin playing. She has studied the unaccompanied works of Bach with the great Bach scholar Dr Rosalyn Tureck. Rimma is currently a visiting lecturer of violin at the Birmingham Conservatoire.  Since 2005 she has embarked on a successful career in conducting and has performed as conductor in the concert halls of an ever growing list of countries including Germany, Russia, USA, China, Israel, Romania, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Savely Shalman

Savely Shalman is a professor at the Special School of Music in St Petersburg and a distinguished Russian violin teacher. He has given masterclasses and lectures throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. His technique has met with great success, and he is the author of a number of books on the subject. He is a member of the International Secretariat of ESTA, and Chairman of the Board of ESTA-Russia.

Irina Chichina

Irina Chichina is a well known St Petersburg teacher and was taught by K Veskler, L Veyman and S Shalman.  Currently she is working at the St Petersburg Music College of MP Musorskiy and the “Vasileostrovskaya” music school.  Chichina’s students perform in the best known venues in St Petersburg, and many of them are laureates of international competitions.  Her masterclasses and concerts given by Irina Chichina’s students have been in Lithuania, Serbia, Germany, Italy and Spain.  She regularly forms part of a jury for many Russian and international competitions. Chichina is well known for her methods of intensive development of the artistic and instrumental capabilities of her students.

The course

The course will suit students wishing to develop new techniques as well as professional players looking to revise and refresh existing ones. The solo studies course will culminate with a concert on Saturday 4th August and with an orchestral finale on Monday 6th August.


Each applicant must have studied violin to at least UK grade 8 (or equivalent), and have prepared at least one movement from a Sonata or Partitia for unaccompanied violin by J S Bach from BMV 1001 – 1006. Participants are also encouraged to bring a Caprice  from the 24 Caprices, Op 1 by Paganini.


All masterclasses, lessons and solo recitals take place at King Edward VI Grammar School (Shakespeare’s School). The orchestral concert will take place in Holy Trinity Church, the burial place of Shakespeare.

Call for applications

Applications are now open. Successful applicants will be notified by 30 June 2018. There are 20 places available for participants aged 16 and over. Application form and further information available to download here.