Carolin Widmann


Carolin Widmann was born in Munich and studied with Igor Ozim in Cologne, Michèle Auclair in Boston and David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

A hugely versatile musician, Ms Widmann’s activities span the great classical concerti, new commissions specially written for her, a wide variety of chamber music and, increasingly, period instrument performances including play/direction from the violin.

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Alban Berg

Violin Concerto

Philharmonia Orchestra / Christoph von Dohnanyi

And so Carolin Widmann and the Philharmonia’s performance was a revelation. Expressive, warm, rich, terrifying, menacing, explosive, even moments of humour; this was a full-blooded exploration of the gamut of human emotion. Dohnányi pulled out textures and opened up the work, showing and communicating a deep understanding of its complexity as well as its expressiveness. Widmann devoured the music with total ardour, switching between warm, rich, dark, lyrical and folky tones with ease. The entry of the chorale melody midway through the second movement felt completely organic, as did its transition to the original Bach realisation on the woodwinds. The melting of the soloist into the main body of the first violins towards the end was particularly lovely too Bachtrack

Julian Anderson

In Lieblicher Bläue

Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot, Benaroya Hall

Soloist Carolin Widmann played this demanding score with tremendous energy and involvement, bending and weaving as her violin countered the communal shrieks from the orchestra. Her command of the instrument is remarkable, right down to the extended techniques the score requires.

The title and concept of this new piece, jointly commissioned from Morlot’s former teacher in London by the Seattle Symphony, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, are derived from a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin. It’s not a traditional violin concerto; it has elements of a symphonic theater piece, in which the soloist starts playing offstage, uttering exploratory twitters and chirps, and gradually moves toward the center stage. In some respects, “In lieblicher Bläue” (“In lovely blue”) then pits the soloist against the entire orchestra in an uneven struggle that gradually subsides, as the violinist ventures a more lyrical response to the overwhelming and colorful panoply of sounds, and ultimately turns her back on the audience.
Seattle Times

Julian Anderson

In Lieblicher Bläue

Royal Festival Hall

London Philharmonic Orchestra and Carolin Widmann, Royal Festival, Hall, review: 'divine'

The London Philharmonic’s premiere of a new violin concerto from Julian Anderson was as ingenious as it was entrancing, says Ivan Hewett

"The poise and grace of Carolin Widmann’s solo line was a wonder"

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowiski

Morton Feldmann

Violin and Orchestra


For fifty minutes, all routine is suspended, orchestral convulsions taking turns with spasms from the violin, nightmarish cluster chords bursting into feverish solo passages – whatever Feldman had in his system at the time, he was sweating, coughing and choking it out. Just when debate on "Violin and Orchestra" seemed closed and content with trivia – that it was initially titled "Why Webern?", that it marked the seminal turn in his oeuvre towards his landmark long works - Carolin Widmann and the Frankfurt RSO, which coincidentally premiered the work in 1979, are opening it up again. Their performance reveals layers behind layers, curtains behind curtains, Pianissississimos behind Pianississimos, suggesting a piece which is dense and massive, but never monolithic, with percussive dance segments and successions of short sequences creating a surreal rather than outright dark mood. The often heard claim that "Violin and Orchestra" is not to be regarded as a concerto, perpetuated from one generation of critics to the next, seems bewilderingly out of place here. In fact, the basic premise of a concerto – of pitting one performer against a larger instrumental body – has hardly ever been presented in more striking terms than here, with Feldman even scoring large sections of the solo part in high, glassy, otherworldly pitches to set it apart. The orchestral emanations aren't accompanying, following or leading the soloist, they are entering and leaving at a will of their own, like sudden apparitions, as though they were only real inside the dream of the violinist. These are mere associations, of course, but they are not without value: To get to the heart of Feldman, one must stop asking questions and keep playing – and that is precisely what Widmann has done.

Tobias Fischer/tokafi

Morton Feldman

ECM Recording, Violin and Orchestra

Sendessaal, Frankfurt

This performance is perfectly judged: Carolin Widmann is a fabulously assured and poetic soloist, taking minute care over the smallest, apparently most insignificant details, and Emilio Pomarico ensures that the orchestral playing is equally refined and scrupulous. It's a beautiful, haunting disc.

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra  /  Emilio Pomarico
ECM Records
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 16th May 2013


ECM recording, February 2012

With Dénés Várjon, piano

Violinist Carolin Widmann’s discs for ECM seem to alternate between centuries.  Her fine recordings of the Schumann Violin Sonatas with Dénés Várjon were followed by an outstanding collection that took in Schoenberg, Zimmermann, Feldman and Xenakis.  Now she has gone back to the 19th Century for this equally exceptional Schubert recital with pianist Alexander Lonquich.  The dominant work is the C major Fantasy D934, one of the less familiar of Schubert’s late masterpieces but just as extraordinary a single-movement telescoping of musical form as the more celebrated Wandered Fantasy for piano.

The heart of the work is its central set of variations but it’s the slow introduction which is recapitulated as the fourth of the fifth sections that casts a shadow across the entire work.  The disc is worth hearing just for the way in which Widmann colours that opening alone, reducing her tone to the slenderest thread, minimising her vibrato and gradually breathing life in the work. It’s extraordinary playing, full of imagination and profound intelligence, and just as powerfully effective in the smaller-scale works, the earlier A major Sonata D574 and the rondo in B minor.

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 17th February 2012




Phantasy of Spring, Carolin Widmann, Simon Lepper, ECM New Series 2113, 2009

Morton Feldman: Spring of Chosroes
Bernd Alois Zimmermann: Sonata for Violin and Piano 
Arnold Schönberg: Phantasy for violin with piano accompaniment, op.47
Iannis Xenakis: Dikhthas

ECM New Series


Strata, Carolin Widmann, Jörg Widmann, Nordic Symphony Orchestra, Anu Tali, ECM New Series 2040, 2009

ECM New Series