Fedor Rudin made his debut at the Berlin Philharmonic with a programme called ‘Violin Magic’ – an apt title, for he truly brings out the magic of the instrument. A virtuoso of the highest order, he captivates his audience, including the jurors of the 2018 Premio Paganini competition, with his superior finger dexterity and sound quality. Yet he is also one of today’s most exciting young musical figures. He is very much his own person: curious, open-minded and imaginative. And that is not least thanks to his own background.
If one were to construct an ideal European, the result would probably be someone like Fedor Rudin. Born in Moscow in 1992 as the grandson of the distinguished avant-garde composer Edison Denisov, Rudin grew up in Paris and, at age 13, went to study under Zakhar Bron in Cologne. He then moved to Austria, where he studied under Pierre Amoyal at the Mozarteum Salzburg and under Boris Kuschnir in Graz, and he lives in Vienna today. In 2019, he was appointed concertmaster of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra/Vienna Philharmonic, as the then-youngest member of one of the best orchestras in the world. After several years, Rudin was drawn back to the stage as a soloist.
At age 30, he is now in a phase of big debuts: he has had solo performances in Prague, Paris and Montreal, at the Berlin Philharmonic, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and Carnegie Hall in New York; he was a guest at the Salzburg Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival; he has played with orchestras such as the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the SWR Symphony Orchestra, and collaborated with conductors such as Vladimir Jurowski, Kirill Karabits, Tomáš Netopil, Petr Popelka and Lorenzo Viotti. He enjoys playing classics such as Beethoven’s violin concerto – the BBC broadcast his debut of this piece with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra – as well as lesser-known important works such as Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 or the avant-garde repertoire of Edison Denisov.
Fedor Rudin is a passionate chamber musician who collaborates with prestigious partners such as the pianists Boris Kusnezow, Igor Levit, Julien Libeer and Florian Noack, the cellists Julia Hagen, Ivan Karizna and Bruno Philippe, the Pavel Haas Quartet and the Signum saxophone quartet. Since 2022, he has been serving as the artistic director of the Rencontres Musicales de Chaon chamber music festival in France. And he is equally as happy to take over the direction of chamber orchestras for the evening. But one thing that sets him apart from his colleagues who practise the ‘play & conduct’ principle is that he has earned a degree in conducting (he trained under Simeon Pironkoff and Vladimir Kiradjiev at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna). He has assisted Teodor Currentzis and Philippe Jordan, conducted orchestras including the Jena Philharmonic and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and, in 2022, directed his first opera production, Bernstein’s West Side Story, in Bialystok. In addition, since October 2023, he has been working as a professor in Orchestral Education at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. As a concert artist, however, he is currently focused on playing the violin.
Fedor Rudin’s other great passion is flying – and for him, piloting an airplane is, interestingly enough, very similar to making music: he practises both things with a fiery passion, yet maintains a cool head and a clear view of the big picture. He enjoys the freedom as well as the challenges associated with flying and performing at concerts at this level. In general, he sees himself as the ambassador of the composer, and his occasionally highly expressive interpretations are rooted in an exhaustive analysis of the score. He wishes not to overwhelm his audience but to take them on an emotional and intellectually stimulating journey. One of guiding principles Rudin conveys to his students is that one must orient oneself on rhetoric while playing. So it’s no wonder he also enjoys presenting concerts – fluently, in five languages.
Rudin has extensively studied historically informed practice, but he will, for example, deliberately play violin concertos by Mozart (D major, K. 271a) and Haydn (A major) – both of which are only rarely performed due to the doubts surrounding their authorship – on his Lorenzo Storioni violin (Cremona, 1779) with a modern setup. It comes from the German Musical Instrument Fund and is a generous loan from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben in Hamburg.