Spanish violist Isabel Villanueva joins the RCM teaching faculty from September 2022


Isabel Villanueva © Alberto Gamazo

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Violist Isabel Villanueva has been appointed professor of viola at London’s Royal College of Music. She will commence her role for the new academic year in September.

’[I’m] very happy to belong to such a prestigious institution and community,’ Villanueva tweeted.

Villanueva began her musical training in her hometown Pamplona, Spain and continued her studies in London, Siena and Geneva. She counts Igor Sulyga, Lawrence Power, Nobuko Imai and Yuri Bashmet as her teachers.

Her international career includes solo performances at the Great Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Bath Music Festival, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Royal Court Theatre in Copenhagen, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Palau de la Música Catalana, Santander Festival, Gran Teatro Nacional de Lima, Estonia Concert Hall, Rottweil Musikfestival and Wigmore Hall in London. 

Her solo debut of Bartók Viola Concerto with the Radio Television Spanish Symphony Orchestra was followed by performances with numerous orchestras including Moscow Soloists, Estonia National Symphony, Lebanon Philharmonic, Istanbul State Symphony, New Russia State Symphony, St. Petersburg State Capella, Jalisco Symphony, Colombia Symphony, Zagreb Soloists, Real Philharmonia de Galicia and Málaga Philharmonic. 

Villanueva has collaborated on and premiered more than 20 new works for viola, many of which are dedicated to her. Her discography includes the Concerto for Viola by José Zárate with Orchestra of Extremadura, released on Sony Classical in 2017.

Her debut album Bohèmes with pianist François Dumont was awarded Best Classical Album of the Year 2018 at the Spanish Independent Music Awards (Premios MIN).

As a chamber musician, she performs with artists such as Prazak Quartet, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Tedi Papavrami, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Daniel Schnyder, Leonard Elschenbroich, Rafael Aguirre, Iddo Bar-Shaï and François Dumont.

In 2015 she received the prestigious Prize ‘El Ojo Crítico’ by the Spanish National Broadcasting Corporation (RNE) and in 2019 was awarded the Culture Award of the Community of Madrid; the first time that either of these prizes were awarded to a violist.

Villanueva plays a viola by Enrico Catenar (Turin 1670).