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mainzer virtuosiThe Mainzer Virtuosi string chamber orchestra was founded in 2007 by Prof. Anne Shih to give her students and other top young string players the opportunity to work at a high level without a conductor. The uniqueness of the ensemble lies in the fact that each member takes on the roles of soloist, leader, and member.

Programming is diverse. A focus on modern music has led to collaborations with composers such as Peter Seabourne, Hans Kunstovny, Brent Lee, Lutz Dreyer, Tim Benjamin, Herbert Nobis, and more. Some of the new works have required a conductor at the helm, so Mainzer Virtuosi have performed under the baton of Achim Fiedler, and Ben Gernon in the Cadogan Hall. Under conductor Christian Weidt, they have made a home at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden. Here they continue a long-term mentorship relationship with the more youthful Young Mozart Players, performing larger orchestral works alongside the talented 13-18 year old musicians from the Rhein-Main area.

The Mainzer Virtuosi members have performed in St. James Square and Cadogan Hall in London, at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, at the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden and in other German cities, in Austria, and in northern and Tuscan Italy. Their performances have been broadcast throughout northern Italian TV, on SWR, and ZDF. They have recorded two CDs, one under the Sheva label, including works by Seabourne, Stale Kleiberg, Malcolm Arnold, and Kurt Atterberg. The second CD offers the 8 Seasons by Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla, showcasing 7 of the members in solo roles. Critics from the nmz (neue musik zeitung) and Gramophone Magazine have lauded their achievements. This year will see the release of a third CD.

The Mainzer Virtuosi served as Ensemble in Residence at Norfolk Concerts and continue their ongoing residence at the Casalmaggiore International Festival and in Tuscany.
Members of the ensemble are winners of international competitions such as the Marschner, Yankelevich, Haydn, Lyon, Oistrakh, and others. While most of the students are from the Mainz Hochschule, some members are students of the Royal College and Guildhall Schools in England;  Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Frankfurt, Augsburg, and Munich Hochschulen in Germany and Austria; and Yale University in America.

In addition to regular coaching with their general Artistic Director, Anne Shih, the ensemble has received musical guideance from artists such as Roger Chase, Hans Kunstovny, Lucia Hall, Nai Yuan Hu, Taras Gabora, Julius Berger, Elisabeth Wallfisch, Felix Koch and Ton Koopman. They have worked with soloists such as Pavel Kolesnikov, Anne Sophie Dauenhauer, William Youn, Julius Berger, Ingmar Lazar, Georgy Tchaidze and Roger Chase.