Graf MOURJA, violin
Graf Mourja is generally regarded as one of the most vivid, talented and popular violinists in Europe. He began to study music at the age of three and was taught for the next two years by Professor Wolf Usminsky at the Urals State Conservatoire (Sverdlovsk). In 1982 Graf Mourja entered the Central School of Music of the Tchaikovsky State Conservatoire in Moscow (class of Professor Irina Bochkkova. While still at the school, at the age of sixteen he became a prize-winner and victor of two prestigious international competitions – the Nicolò Paganini Competition in Genoa (1990) and the José Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon (1991), at which he was also awarded the special prize for his performance of Bartók’s Chaconne.
Graf Mourja graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire (1997) and completed a post-graduate study under Professor Bochkova (1999). And for his outstanding results as a student received the prestigious President Yeltsin Grant. At the same time he completed a post-graduate study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, receiving the highest ever result in the Academy’s history, and was awarded the Hattori Foundation’s award for his outstanding success in his studies.
While a student, Graf Mourja was a prize-winner and victor at numerous international competitions, among them the Demidov Violin Competition (Yekaterinburg, 1993), the Х International Tchaikovsky Competition (Moscow, 1994), the Jacques Thibaud Competition (Paris, 1996), the Pablo de Sarasate Competition (Pamplona, 1997), the Rodolfo Lipizer Competition (Gorizia, 2000) at which he won special prizes for the best performance of concerti by Stravinsky, Sibelius and Lipizer and the special audience prize and the UNISA International Competition (Pretoria, 2002). Moreover, in 1994 Graf Mourja was awarded the Council of Europe Prize.
Since 1990 Graf Mourja has regularly given recitals and performs with symphony orchestras in Russia and Europe at the world’s leading concert venues, among them the Great and Small Halls of the Moscow Conservatoire, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the Great and Small Halls of the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Salle Gaveau, the Théâtre de la Ville and the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Concert Hall in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), the Liszt Academy in Budapest and the Casals Hall in Tokyo.
Graf Mourja has worked with such conductors as Yevgeny Svetlanov, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Mark Ermler, Alexander Vakulsky, Alexander Dmitriev, Marek Janowski, Yutaka Sado, Alexander Mikhailov, Valery Polyansky and Yuri Simonov.
The musician’s repertoire includes over thirty violin concerti, among them rarely performed works by Ernő Dohnányi, Henk Badings, Georgy Dmitriev, Mikhail Nosyrev and Béla Bartók.
Since 2007 the violinist has been Artistic Director of the Wandering Violin festival in Yekaterinburg, where there are performances of classical, ethnic, klezmer and jazz music.
Graf Mourja has recorded three compact discs for Harmonia Mundi, and has collaborated on several occasions with the companies Alpha, Integral, Naxos, Chant du Monde and Classical Records. The violinist is currently engaged on two projects for Fuga Libera (Belgium).
Graf Mourja works with many acclaimed instrumentalists, among them pianists Piotr Anderszewski, Barry Douglas, Bruno Canino,Christian Zacharias, Alexandre Tharaud, violists Nobuko Imai, Liza Berthy, Lawrence Power, cellists Andrés Díaz, Françoise Groben, Marc Coppey, Marie Elenk, Xavier Phillips, clarinettists Michel Lethiec, Roland van Spaandonk and French horn players Hervé Joulain, Richard Watkins and Francis Orval among others.
The musician spends a significant proportion of his time touring with his regular partner Natalia Gous (piano).
In 2004 Graf Mourja was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of Russia.
The musician also teaches at the Moscow Conservatoire. The violinist holds master classes in Great Britain, France, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Since 2005 Graf Mourja has been a member of Russian and international music competitions.
In June 2010 Graf Mourja won the Gold Medal and the Grand Prix at the prestigious Violin Masters competition in Monte Carlo.