Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin
"Ibragimova is the real deal, pared back to her sternest essence she proves a compelling narrator for Bach’s musical monologues and dialogues, conjuring pathos and dignity with quiet authority."
Artsdesk.com August 2015
"The high point was the A Minor Sonata, its opening Grave teetering on tragedy, the Andante, with its double-stopped throbs, all the more poignant for its restraint; the echo effects of its final Allegro at once dazzling and emotionally contained. An outstanding achievement, spellbinding from start to finish."
Guardian August 2015
"I think I can probably say that my most memorable concert of the year has been and gone: I can’t really imagine anything more extraordinary than Alina Ibragimova at the BBC Proms, where she has performed, over two late nights, the complete unaccompanied Bach works for violin."
Charlotte Higgins, writing in The Guardian Aug 2015
Ysaÿe: Sonatas for solo violin
"Ibragimova brings a ferocious technique, but more importantly, a chameleon touch to the music of extraordinary expressive breadth. Nothing in the violin canon is quite like this; the ghost of Bach lurks behind each sonata, but their character is distinct: there is wry humour, grave beauty and daring impetuosity, Ibragimova transfixes throughout."
The Times, July 2015
"Alina Ibragimova has made many fine recordings in recent years, but this solo Ysaÿe disc must count as one of her most memorable achievements.
And not only do the difficulties hold no terrors for Ibragimova, she also as throughout the disc, gives a strong impression of having fun playing the music...she takes her place now as one of the most distinguished exponents of these fascinating works."
Gramophone Recording of the month, July 2015
"Together, the sonatas form a freewheeling ride to the limits of violin technique, often recalling Bach but more often not. Alina Ibragimova is a superb advocate; nothing here sounds like a mere showpiece, and her performances brim with lyricism and wit."
The Guardian, May 2015
"Her playing is of unerring and at times unearthly accuracy, yet the effect she projects is totally warm and compassionate; of sympathy for the human condition. Among the 20-odd recordings of the complete sonatas, this becomes immediately my preferred choice."
Sinfini Recording of the week, May 2015
Cleveland Orchestra debut / Juanjo Mena
Sibelius Violin Concerto
" Her navigation of the 'proposta seria' of the opening Allegro moderato was nothing short of brilliant, especially in the long cadenza... The tender second movement was played equally well, becoming in Ibragimova's hands almost an operative scene.
Prokofiev: Sonatas no. 1 & 2 for violin and piano, Five Melodies.
Hyperion Records CDA67514
Steven Osborne, piano
" the music's mix of cautious whispers, fierce outbursts, rumination and astringency is potentally projected. In tandem with the comparative calm of the Second Sonata there is also a vitalising impetus and an apt palatte of colour that distinguishes the whole disc."
The Telegraph, July 2014
"There is a real sense that Ibragimova and Osborne's responses come from deep within the music's substance"
Gramophone, August 2014 Recording of the Month
City of London Festival; recital with Steven Osborne
"One of the biggest joys of the London concert scene in recent years has been the opening up of the musical world of Alina Ibragimova, a world that seems to know no bounds. Each successive performance turns into a voyage of discovery...the fierce intensity of Prokofiev’s language was turned on its head by Pärt’s contemplative calm, creating a wondrous journey of tension and relaxation."
Financial Times, July 2013
BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Thomas Søndergard
Huw Watkins: Violin Concerto
"Alina Ibragimova is one of the most richly talented and expressive of violinists; in every performance, she instinctively finds the essence of the music and delivers it with a combination of grace and daring."
Rhian Evans, The Guardian, 1 July 2013
Solo Bach Recital in Wigmore Hall
"Alina Ibragimova is not someone who ducks a challenge...she is one of today's outstanding interpreters of the most elemental music in the repertoire"
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 26 October 2012 *****
Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos
Hyperion Records CDA67795
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Vladimir Jurowski
"Alina Ibragimova's inventive playing is set in sharp relief against the Age of Enlightenment's accompaniments. The orchestra's strings use practically no vibrato; Ibragimova uses it sparingly (to bring the solo line alive), and her subtle changes of colour and prodigious range of articulation are things to wonder at."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 18 October 2012
"This performance of the E minor concerto is splendid in may ways and Alina Ibragimova's playing combines verve, brilliance and imaginative intelligence. Mendelssohn's dynamics are scrupulously observed - the pianissimo before the first movement's cadenza is breathtaking and the short Allegretto that introduces the finale, played exactly as written, is exceptionally eloquent."
Duncan Druce, Gramophone Awards Special Issue, October 2012
"Alina Ibragimova, with her wonderfully full, malleable tone, sinewy agility and deft expressiveness, proves a compelling exponent of [the D minor concerto], combining it with an equally ear-catching performance of the later E minor Concerto. Ibragimova adopts a style that goes hand in glove with the OAE’s, sparing with vibrato, lithe in articulation but at the same time appealingly reflective in the slow central movement. In the E minor Concerto Ibragimova changes tack, deploying a tone of greater lustre but maintaining the fine interpretative judgment that has become her hallmark. The speed of the finale might spell disaster in less able hands, but here it is simply thrilling."
Geoffrey Norris, Telegraph, 28 September 2012
Utah Symphony Orchestra / Thierry Fischer
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 in D Op.19
"Ibragimova spun out the long melodies of the outer movements with grace, patience and eloquence. The second movement, by contrast, allowed Ibragimova to explore a wide range of tonal effects, from throaty to crystalline. Fischer and the orchestra provided attentive support; the hushed conclusion of the first movement was especially magical."
Catherine Reese Newton, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 September 2012
City of London Festival, Mansion House London
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Edward Gardner
"Alina Ibragimova, the most questing and lively young violinist of our time…managed a wide-ranging kaleidoscope: filigree whispers before the first movement’s second theme; forthright projection for the cadenza; humble simplicity in the andante."
Geoff Brown, The Arts Desk, 29 June 2012
Barbican Centre London
Arvo Pärt: Tabula Rasa
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Tonu Kaljuste
"The soloists with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Tonu Kaljuste were violinists Alina Ibragimova and Barnabás Kelemen, both wonderfully combining ethereal purity and gutsy commitment…their performance almost erased memories of the rest of the concert."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 30 April 2012
St David’s Hall Cardiff
Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No.3
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse / Tugan Sokhiev
"it is hard to imagine that case being put much more persuasively than it was by Alina Ibragimova in this performance. Ibragimova’s playing had immediate authority; she is one of those soloists who always seems to be directing attention to the music rather than to herself and the exactness of whose focus communicates itself to her audience."
Glyn Pursglove, seenandheard-international.com, 01 April 2012
Sheffield City Hall
Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No.3
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse / Tugan Sokhiev
"Alina Ibragimova is box office gold dust. The Russian-born violinist had the audience at Sheffield City Hall in raptures after her exquisite performance of Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No 3. Ms Ibragimova’s display was absolutely breath-taking."
Derbyshire Times, 02 April 2012
National Concert Hall Dublin
Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No.3
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse / Tugan Sokhiev
"Alina Ibragimova was the nimble, highly-charged soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Third Violin Concerto."
Michael Dervan, Irish Times, 03 April 2012
Academy of Ancient Music (directed from the violin)
Biber - Bach - Vivaldi
Assembly Rooms, Bath
"Four notes. That’s all it took for Alina Ibragimova to entrance her audience. As she began to play, there was an instant, magical hush in the audience. By the end of the fiendish solo [Biber Pasacaglia] it scarcely seemed surprising that one audience member uttered a breathless but clearly audible ‘wow’. At moments in the Bach E major Concerto the tempos seemed on the edge of plausibility, but they never toppled over, and this was a performance of exquisite, lyrical joy. Ibragimova’s spontaneous smile at the end, so different from the fierce concentration with which she’d begun, seemed to echo the audience’s delight."
Rebecca Franks, BBC Music Magazine / classical-music.com 01 March 2012
"Ibragimova's serene demeanour as always belied her cast-iron technique and her unerring ability to bring a freshness and spontaneity to the music. Comparing Bach's concertos with those of Vivaldi and offering Heinrich Biber as their starting point made for a revelatory sequence. Ibragimova began with Biber's solo G minor Passacaglia, each note of the simple theme given an innocent intensity. Bach's E major Sonata then served to further attune the ear to a denser texture and burgeoning technical complexities, so that the A minor Concerto could emerge in shimmering new light. The mercurial flow that Ibragimova brought to the phrasing, together with the translucent beauty of her tone-colours, made for a riveting experience and the purity of the Adagio in the E major concerto was simply sublime. Yet it was the fiery passion of Ibragimova's Vivaldi that captured the imagination most vividly: first in the Concerto in D minor L'Inquietudine, and the Concerto for two violins and cello, all breathtaking stuff."
Rian Evans, The Guardian, 26 February 2012
Ravel: Complete Works for Violin & Piano
Lekeu: Violin Sonata
Hyperion Records CDA67820
“Alina Ibragimova und Cédric Tiberghien nähern sich dem Stück mit großer Innigkeit, ohne jemals in Manierismen oder gar kitschigen Schmelz abzugleiten. Technisch über alle Anforderungen erhaben gestaltet Ibragimowa die dynamische Bandbreite mit differenzierter Artikulation und sehr bewusst eingesetztem Vibrato. Dass sie mit Tiberghien bereits eine längere Zusammenarbeit verbindet, hört man dem synergetischen Spiel der beiden jungen Musiker durchweg an. Der französische Pianist steht Ibragimowa als gleichwertiger Partner zur Seite und legt mit seiner äußerst souveränen Anschlagskultur die kristalline wie facettenreiche Klanglichkeit der Musik offen.”
Meret Forster, BR-Klassik, CD-Tipp, 21 September 2011
"The instinctive artistic collaboration between Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien that has been so evident in their recordings of the Beethoven violin sonatas and another one of Szymanowski, is again brought to the fore in this perceptive and magically played programme of French chamber music. Their like-minded thinking about this music is particularly striking in the quick, witty exchanges at the start of the finale of Ravel’s G major Sonata, but they are equally at home in the smoochy, bluesy atmosphere of the central movement. They have great fun with the wild gipsy flair of Tzigane, but you can tell that this spontaneity is born of deep understanding of the music’s character and of unshakeable rapport. In the entire programme the playing is of finesse and winning,communicative allure."
Geoffrey Norris, the Telegraph, 15 September 2011
"I'm glad to find this most questing of young violinists back in a recording studio with her dynamic recital partner, the French pianist Cédric Tiberghien. The couple recently stirred excitement with their accounts of Beethoven's sonatas - each sonata freshly thought and felt. Now, a similar miracle is worked upon Ravel's G major Violin Sonata. In the G major sonata's first movement Tiberghien stabs while Ibragimova soars, the contrast between them deliberately underlined, the better to generate extra power whenever they intertwine. The central blues movement is magnificently judged, building up from coquettish whispers toward the darkly brazen. The solo section of the Tzigane gives Ibragimova her big spotlight, spinning with gypsy trills. But Tiberghien throughout fields his own sensitivities and urgent attack; this CD is a joint triumph."
Geoff Brown, The Times, 26 August 2011 *****
Barbican / Wilton's Music Hall, 25-27 July 2011
Berio: Sequenza VIII - Bach: Chaconne - Bartok: Solo Sonata
"Ibragimova isn’t just an intelligent musician with an adventurous mind; she positively oozes music. Her technical finesse enables her to make a beautiful sound in Bach with no vibrato, while her sense of fantasy shapes the Chaconne’s desperate poetry into a marvel as psychologically probing as the Bartók and as vivid as a film in its own right. Ever wondered why great musicians are called ‘artists’? Here’s the proof."
Jessica Duchen, The Independent, 26 July 2011 *****
"A collaboration between the mesmerising violinist Alina Ibragimova and cult US film-makers The Quay Brothers, which was a highlight of the recent Manchester International Festival, is now being staged in London. While high-profile names like Bjork, Damon Albarn and Victoria Wood hogged the limelight at the Manchester festival, Ibragimova's performance in a medieval hall was one of the most unusual and exhilarating events in the schedule."
Ian Youngs, BBC News Online, 25 July 2011
Manchester International Festival, July 2011
Berio: Sequenza VIII - Bach: Chaconne - Bartok: Solo Sonata
"Ibragimova possesses a range of technique to cover all styles from the baroque to the present day, her unique asset is the priceless ability to make time stand still."
Alfred Hickling, The Guardian, 06 July 2011
"The Biber sonata - tender and delicate after the majesty of the Bach and the controlled fury of the Berio...then the Bartok sonata, accompanied by one of those haunting Quay Brothers films where everything takes place in shadow, and small things take on a strange grandeur. A glimpse of a composer's pen, a dead girl on a bier - all this summoned up an atmosphere of anxiety and grief, given focus by Ibragimova's fantastically impassioned yet controlled performance."
Ivan Hewitt, Daily Telegraph, 04 July 2011
"Nothing about this event - a collaboration between Ibragimova and renegade visual artists and film-makers the Quay Brothers - conforms to the stereotype of a classical concert. It begins in a small anteroom; suddenly, Ibragimova strides out and, without pausing, launches into a ferocious account of [Berio's] Sequenza VIII. Afterwards she vanishes, only to reappear in another room playing the Chaconne from Bach's Partita in D Minor. At a moment in the still centre of Bach's incantatory series of variations, when, held by a pause in the music, everyone in the room, Ibragimova included, seemed to be holding their breath. No tricks, no gimmicks: just music."
Andrew Dickson, The Guardian, 04 July 2011
Liverpool Royal Liverpool Philharmonic / Vasily Petrenko
Mozart Violin Concerto No.4
Philharmonic Hall Liverpool
"A poised, aristocratic performer, she has a breathtaking ability to think in terms of span as well as detail, so that every movement seemed at once immaculately controlled yet perfectly natural."
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 27 May 2011
Beethoven Violin Sonatas-3
Wigmore Live CD WHLive0045
"As anyone who heard their recitals at Wigmore Hall will know, this young partnership mesmerises and captivates, achieving rare freshness and vitality in the most familiar repertoire."
Fiona Maddox, The Observer, 24 April 2011
Carnegie Hall, 18 March 2011
Recital with Cédric Tiberghien
From the first notes the violinist Alina Ibragimova and the pianist Cédric Tiberghien played during their concert on Friday evening, it seemed clear that their objective was to engross and beguile rather than merely to dazzle. Ms. Ibragimova...making her New York debut, has garnered superlatives for her performances abroad; here she is known chiefly for her distinguished recordings on the Hyperion label. As on those records, what you noticed first about Ms. Ibragimova's playing here was a bowing technique that approached the supernatural in its expressive variety. In Debussy's Violin Sonata, the opening work, she conjured wistful sighs, silken filigree and exuberant song, seemingly without effort. The subtlety and mystery of their Debussy seemed magnified exponentially in Szymanowski's "Mythes". Ms. Ibragimova flitted and dipped, butterfly-light, over Mr. Tiberghien's watery ripples in "La Fontaine d'Arethusa"; for "Dryades et Pan," she summoned eerie murmurs, flutelike harmonics and spidery flurries."
Steve Smith, New York Times, 21 March 2011
Reading Concert Hall & Wigmore Hall 30 & 31 January 2011
Schubert Piano Trios
With Alban Gerhardt and Steven Osborne
"Ibragimova's wonderful range of colour and her breathtaking pianissimo... In years to come, this concert may well be remembered as the starting point for one of the great piano trios of our time."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 02 February 2011
"Three exceptional soloists, violinist Alina Ibragimova, cellist Alban Gerhardt and pianist Steven Osborne, made their UK premiere as a trio with Schubert's works for those forces in B flat D 898 and E flat D 929. Ibragimova, a musician of acumen and versatility, plays with little vibrato and baroque-informed bowing. This injected suppleness into works that can suffer from excess blending. With the great Beaux Arts trio finally gone after 50 years, could this be the trio for the next half century?"
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 06 February 2011
Beethoven Violin Sonatas-2
Wigmore Live CD WHLive0041
"After the first invigorating installment of Ibragimova and Tiberghien's Wigmore Hall Beethoven series, this sequel comes as no disappointment. From the opening bars of the Spring Sonata, warm and serene in Ibragimova's hands, we're aware of the same attention to expressive detail that distinguished the earlier recital. Ibragimova often plays very quietly and unemphatically...but I find that when her part is an accompaniment it invariably balances well with the piano, and when she does play with force and passion, the effect is all the more impressive. Cédric Tiberghien makes equally effective use of subtle expressive changes. I could enumerate many favourite moments - better, though, to urge you to listen yourself."
Duncan Druce Gramophone December 2010
"The second release in the live Beethoven cycle given by Alina Ibragimova and CÃ©dric Tiberghien is every bit as impressive as its predecessor. More than anything else they let the music speak for itself without any seeming attempt to 'interpret'. Nothing ever seems mannered, exaggerated or forced. Basic tempos are neither too fast or too slow. Rather they seem utternatural and right for the score at hand...in all three works the pulse never becomes rigid...here is rhythmic freedom governed by good taste and freedom. The two artists seem as much responsive to each other as to the music itself, their interaction producing superbly integrated, rhymically supple readings that remain utterly free of mannerism. My final comment: bring on volume 3."
Mortimer H Frank International Record Review, November 2010
"The second volume...sustains the standard of the first, with their treatment of the Violin Sonata in F major, Spring, Op.24 perhaps their most delightful vehicle yet."
The Independent 10 December 2010
"Good news: the freshness, intellectual penetration and exhilerating sense of shared music-making are at the forefront again in this second volume of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien's Beethoven cycle. The superbly modulated range of expression, the grasp of the work as a whole organism and the sense of lively musical partnership gives this performance a special authority."
Stephen Johnson BBC Music Magazine December 2010
"Ibragimova and Tiberghien continue their Beethoven sonata cycle with a trio of compelling performances that makes even the most familiar of phrases appear freshly minted. The elusive Tenth Sonata has never sounded more radiant. Ibragimova and Tiberghien play with a natural flair and insight that sets new standards"
Julian Haylock, Classic FM Magazine, December 2010
"It's a remarkable partnership - the mutual sense of timing, of balance, you encounter only rarely."
Hi-Fi Magazine November 2010
Manchester Bridgewater Hall, 22 September 2011
Brahms: Double Concerto with Torleif Thedéen
Hallé Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder
"Alina Ibragimova and Torleif Thedéen who, despite a difference and age and background, were instantly at one in the lyrical qualities of the music. Virtuosity was there in spades, but never as empty display, rather an integral part of the music."
Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News, 23 September 2010
BBC Proms, 17 August 2010
Huw Watkins Violin Concerto (world premiere)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner
"Huw Watkins's new violin concerto, a BBC commission, was composed for Alina Ibragimova. It is the second work he has written for this exceptional young violinist, and it is easy to understand why - few players give more of themselves to everything they perform, or colour every phrase more individually. Watkins's concerto was...striking on this first encounter, The ravishingly coloured slow movement is flanked by an opening that alternates between hyperactivity and introspection, and a finale that winds up to a huge climax and discharges its energy in a lingering coda."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 18 August 2010
"Huw Watkins's new Violin Concerto, receiving its world premiere...eschews the big-boned structure of the traditional concerto to explore more fertile territory. Not that the accomplished soloist, Alina Ibragimova, lacks anything in terms of virtuosity - her effortless delivery of the more taxing passages was exemplary - but it was the vein of lyricism that runs through Watkins's score that was tapped so eloquently here. The Andante second movement was especially memorable in this regard, though composer and interpreter found the space for bitter-sweet lyrical expression too even amid the scurrying syncopations of the finale."
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 18 August 2010
"Watkins has created a diverting and likeable piece that engages rhythmically and touches the heart in the lyrical passages. Written for Alina Ibragimova, who played superbly, this work's restful conclusion seemed inevitable."
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 18 August 2010
Cheltenham Festival, 04 July 2010
Recital with Cédric Tiberghien
"Schumann's Violin Sonata in D Minor, Op 121 has the hallmarks of instability, with ruminative, lyrical lines and passionate outbursts. Its ebb and flow eludes many, but not violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist CÃ©dric Tiberghien. Their Pittville Pump Room recital combined insight and virtuosity. The breathtaking intimacy they brought to the opening of Brahms's G Major Sonata, Op 78 was a potent reminder of the role played by Schumann's wife Clara in these composers' lives."
Rian Evans, The Guardian, 06 July 2010
Wigmore Hall, 25 May 2010
Beethoven violin sonatas 6, 3 & 9
With Cédric Tiberghien
"Their exciting Beethoven violin sonata cycle at the Wigmore Hall has come to an end, though it will live on in recordings. The house was packed, the concentration intense. Ibragimova holds nothing back as she works her bow and sculpts her phrasings. Tiberghien is almost as febrile, rippling out his piano cascades, capsizing into a sudden pianissimo, or pulling back from a muscular chord as if he'd just struck a mousetrap. The duo's boldest showcase was the Kreutzer Sonata, with its firecracker outer movements and lovely soft centre. Ibragimova's bow worked overtime. Loose threads kept dangling. Her pizzicato was wicked. These are ferociously gifted young musicians."
Geoff Brown, The Times, 27 May 2010
Beethoven Violin Sonatas-1
Wigmore Live CD WHLive0036
"Still only in her mid-20s but with a formidable reputation, Ibragimova brings characteristic intensity and sparkle to the music, playing the dynamic contrasts for all they are worth while investing the rhythms with a quasi-gypsy lilt. The partnershhip with Tiberghien sounds fresh and spontaneous - outstandingly so in the opening movement of the eigth sonata. But even in the gentle Adagio canabile of the seventh they establish a special rapport with the music."
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 17 July 2010
"These performances are brimful of life; there's a sense of joy and freedom, with fast passage work that's exceptionally clear and even, and expressiveness that ranges from extreme delicacy to passionatee intensity. The liveliness has another aspect, too: Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien have clearly thought about each phrasse, every expression mark, with such detailed individuality as to banish routine interpretation. As a result, the character of each sonata emerges with vivid clarity."
Duncan Druce, Gramophone, August 2010 (Editor's Choice)
"This is very special. Alina Ibragimova...is a mature, intelligent, impassioned musician, technically and emotionally focused to a degree that would be exceptional in any violinist of her age...she has the kind of tone and expression that pins you to the back of your seat. For all the thought that has gone into her interpretations, nothing sounds contrived or over-cultivated. CÃ©dric Tiberghien is the ideal partner...his alert responsiveness to the finer nuances of Ibragimova's playing is one of the features which makes these performances so magnificently alive...excellently balanced and beautifully clear recordings."
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine, July 2010
"...it is clear from their playing here that they are consumate artists: virtuosic, utterly integrated in their playing and mature in their grasp of Beethoven's particular brand of classicism, where a broad emotional range is reined in by strict structural coherence. One of the primary features of all three of these performances is their freedom from anything that even hints at mannerism...Perhaps most important, it is clear that each performer is responding to the other, producing an integration of style typifying total agreement between them."
Mortimer H Frank, International Record Review, June 2010
"Spontaneous, impulsive, young and fresh, the violinist Ibragimova and the pianist Tiberghien make an electrifying partnership. This disc finds them live in concert in October last year, dispatching four of Beethoven's ten violin sonatas with inspiration and delight...and the pair's creativity in ducking and weaving, shaping phrases, surging with lyricism, brings multiple pleasures."
Geoff Brown, The Times, 08 May 2010
The partnership here of Ibragimova and Tiberghien is a rare meeting of minds. Both understand that each has an equal part to play in this music. Both make sounds that are unfailingly beautiful and, equally important, clean and clear. Both recognise that Beethoven was a disruptive revolutionary even in his twenties. These sure-footed yet spontaneous-sounding readings...emphasise the contrasts, assymetries and points of poetic repose. Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, April 25, 2010
Times South Bank Show Breakthrough Award nominations
"In the past 12 months Alina Ibragimova has gone from dazzling prodigy to consummate virtuoso...But in 2009 she brought out a recording of Bach's solo sonatas and partitas, the Himalayas of the violin repertoire, that astonished with its technical assurance, expressive daring, faultless intonation and scholarly understanding. Bewitching playing, said Geoff Brown in The Times, and that verdict was widely echoed. She's very much a postmodern virtuoso” refusing to specialise, and as knowledgeable about 18th-century performance practice as she is adventurous about tackling 21st-century compositions. A few weeks ago the Irish Times declared that she had achieved cult status. One wouldn't wish that on any 24-year-old. But the rise of this impassioned, intelligent and inquisitive young Russian is a joyous breath of fresh air blowing through our concert halls." Richard Morrison, The Times, 04 January 2010
Wigmore Hall, 27 October 2009
Beethoven Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 4, 7 & 8
With Cédric Tiberghien
"...playing with volatile extremes of speed, volume and tonal colour which proved revelatory and mercurial...the phenomenal Ibragimova springs from a new tradition, one informed by fresh knowledge and scholarship... she makes a lithe, muscular sound, with fast, light bowing, limited vibrato and dexterous agility."
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, November 2009
JS Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin BWV1001-6
"Ms. Ibragimova's combination of intelligence and intuition, vulnerability and steel on display in this new set will surely prove revelatory. Ibragimova combines the advantages of a modern instrument - or, rather, an updated 1738 Guarneri - with an imagination enriched but not entrapped by period-practice dogma. Using practically no vibrato, she gives each gesture and line its own sound and shape through her commanding bowing technique. Throughout this set Ibragimova makes familiar works sound both spontaneously conceived and inevitable. Her playing proclaims authority... Her dance movements are persuasive... In slow movements, Ms. Ibragimova's understated poise asserts an intensity all her own. And more than just a mighty feat (though it is certainly that), the famous D minor Chaconne here becomes an absorbing saga unto itself." Steve Smith, New York Times, 13 December 2009
"You can expect cult status to attach to Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova's rivettingly pure account of Bach's solo violin music."
Michael Dervan, The Irish Times, 11 December 2009
"Another staggeringly well-played, freshly conceived account of core repertoire from the brilliant Russian Alina Ibragimova."
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times Top 100 CDs of 2009, 06 December 2009
"Ibragimova reveals herself to be an exquisite interpreter of solo Bach. Her Bach comes as something of a revelation. The finesse we've previously admired in her playing is here combined with thoughtful stylistic awareness. She plays with very little vibrato, often none at all, so that variations in tone and colour all come from the bow, allowing her to present the musical shapes in a clear yet unemphatic manner. She eschews the usual violinistic attempts, through big tone and heavy emphasis, to underline the grandeur of Bach's designs...all her stylishness and technical refinement is at the service of an ingrained understanding of the music."
Duncan Druce, Editor's Choice, Gramophone, November 2009
"...she comes of age with this superb set of Bach's solo sonatas and partitas... A quiet, reflective sensibility in the sarabandes of the First and Second Partitas is matched by the contemplative profundity of the slow openings of the three sonatas, and finds lively contrast in the way that Ibragimova tackles, with such incisiveness and aplomb, the music of more vigorous temperament. The element of the dance that underpins the movements of the partitas is ever-present here, whether in elegant, graceful phrasing or, for example, in the buoyancy of the B minor Partita. This is a violinist of interpretative maturity and thrilling spark."
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph, 06 November 2009
"Young, excellent and serious, this 24-year-old violinist plays with a maturity far beyond her years. In this two-CD set of Bach's solo sonatas and partitas she's right inside the music, whether Bach calls for roaring fire or the tenderest melancholy. The D minor Chaconne soars without peril, though her artistry is at its finest in smaller miracles, with harmonics and a melodic line effortlessly juggled. Darting inflections, swift dynamic contrasts and poetry at high speed - this is bewitching playing."
Geoff Brown, The Times, 17 October 2009
"This is an absolutely compelling set of performances, the kind that have you on the edge of your seat wondering at the freshness of it all and what she might do next. Every phrase in these familiar works seems newly minted, every bar totally alive...its sheer energy and self-belief are genuinely thrilling."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 02 October 2009
"...her exploration of their surfaces and depths is charged with historical as well as superbly musical passion...her approach seems wonderfully to combine delicacy and toughness...her sound is seductive, her virtuosity bracing and every movement a victory. Her reading of the D minor Partita is the high point of the set, and the deeply pondered, marvellously felicitous account of the concluding great chaconne a true enshrining of the violin's soul."
Paul Driver, Sunday Times, 04 October 2009
BBC Chamber Proms, 29 August 2009
JS Bach: Partita No.3 for solo violin
"Alina Ibragimova's performance of Bach's E major solo violin Partita was extraordinary in its elfin lightnesss"
Ivan Hewitt, Daily Telegraph, 31 August 2009
City of London Festival, 28 June 2009
JS Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin
One player, one instrument, one composer: Bach's unaccompanied violin music has always been the ultimate test for any player, young or old. Alina Ibragimova, only 23, is already its equal. Where can a performer go from there? Back to Bach, of course; Ibragimova shows no sign of complacency, and her playing here - three hours of it, all from memory - had a searching quality, suggesting that no two performances will be quite the same. In this City of London festival double bill, she gave us every note of all six works, and then some: at the end, instead of collapsing in a heap, she returned to the andante of the second Sonata as an encore. Her sense of direction never flagged. Her playing in the slower movements was inward and focused. The fastest ones she took at breakneck speed, yet the notes all fell magnetically into place. It was a communion with perhaps the greatest of composers."
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 29 June 2009
Hodinott Hall Cardiff, 03 June 2009
Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No.1
BBC National Orchestra of Wales / Walter Weller
"Alina Ibragimova was the fluent soloist, her sweet tone singing out in the high ecstatic lines" Rian Evans, The Guardian, 05 June 2009
Szymanowski works for violin & piano
"The young Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova impressed this year with Bachâ€™s Sonatas and Partitas but also with this fire-and-ice Szymanowski disc full of virtuosity, nuance, and wonderful coloristic imagination."
Jeremy Eichler's top albums of 2009, Boston Globe
"Ibragimova and Tiberghien evince a rapport so fluently natural that one simply takes it as given, marveling only afterwards. Ibragimova's stunningly potent technique - the stuff of legend even in the close scrutiny (especially in the close scrutiny!) of the digital age - is soon forgotton...the more extravagantly impossible the violinistic hurdles, the more ecstatically glorious her tone becomes. Indeed hurdles do not exist for her, and the usual descriptive and critical terms are useless, if only because they suggest comparison with other artists suddenly dwarfed by the incomparable...Ibragimova does not play or perform - she simply possesses. The world of the violin has suffered a tsunami - Ibragimova is in a class by herself. Recommendation is superfluous."
Adrian Corleonis, Fanfare, September 2009
"Alina Ibragimova teams with French pianist Cedric Tiberghien to prove that Szymanowski's violin music is the most impressive of his chamber music. An exceptional disc."
Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News, 10 May 2009
"This is a performance that shows Ibragimova's art at her remarkable best: at one moment poised, the next playing with abandon. She is one of the most expressive violinists around. Ibragimova's authority is evident throughout." - John Allison, BBC Music Magazine, June 2009
"Alina Ibragimova wields her intoxicating violin with CÃ©dric Tiberghien's dappled piano in the febrile splendour of the Polish master Szymanowski. Just when you're ready to faint after the early Violin Sonata, his Three Paganini Caprices arrive, dazzling us with Ibragimova's light touch and the duo's wonderful ability to move as one. More characteristic is Mythes - music of mysterious portent and idiosyncratic beauty."
Geoff Brown, The Times, 11 May 2009
Barbican Centre London, 13 March 2009
Ligeti: Violin Concerto
BBC Symphony / Edward Gardner
"The real star was the winning young soloist Alina Ibragimova, formerly a BBC New Generation Arttist. Indefatigably passionate and curious, she's never been one to duck a challenge or 20th-century thorns, and she stood her ground in Ligeti's sonic whirlwind with admirable focus and awesome technical dexterity. Together with Gardner and the BBC Players, Ibragimova took us to a brave new world so surprising and enchanted that I never wanted the experience to end."
Geoff Brown, The Times, 18 March 2009
Yehudi Menuhin Hall, 28 & 29 January 2009
Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin
"I don't think I have ever heard a more promising musician on any instrument - or, indeed, such an intensely musical (and moving) performance of Bach's unaccompanied violin works. ...She plays with an outstanding sense of period style...She has an extraordinarily compelling stage manner - quiet, focussed and seemingly at one with her instrument, she quietly walks on stage, stands and plays, looking at her violin with intense concentration and involvement with the music. Alina Ibragimova has a exquisite musical talent and an inspiring musical mind."
Andrew Benson-Wilson, Early Music Review, May 2009
Roslavets Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
Hyperion Records CDA67637
BBC Scottish Symphony / Ilan Volkov
"Ibragimova has the bravura technique and coloristic range necessary to tackle the First Violin Concerto, which she clearly enjoys. Moreover, she possesses an elegance of tone that prevents the work's more showy pages from appearing trashy."
Barry Brenesal, Fanfare, May 2009
"This is an exceptional recording that substantially enriches the violin repertoire with a highly promising young violinist who can be expected to reach even greater heights."
Norbert Hornig, Fono Forum, May 2009
"Her formidable bowing and fiery temperament, the effortless superiority of the young Alina Ibragimova puts her in another class from most of the current crop of photogenic female fiddlers...played with convincing and consummate musicianship."
Manuel Brug, Die Welt, March 2009
"Alina Ibragimova shapes this abundance on her Guarneri violin and makes it so full-bodied, so intense in tone, with such a gloriously uttered legato and such fabulous mastery in every register, that one wonders why she has not been booked long before now for all the great festivals."
Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 2009
"The violinist Alina Ibragimova gives an impassioned performance with the ripe-sounding BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Volkov."
Stephen Pettit, The Sunday Times, November 2008
"The gifted violinist Ibragimova unties another musical knot with this knockout CD of concertos by the Soviet Modernist pioneer Nikolay Roslavets...Ibragimova's energy and lyric beauty makes her the music's ideal advocate"
Geoff Brown, The Times, November 2008
"Both concertos are beautifully played by Alina Ibragimova, whose slightly wiry, deceptively fragile sound seems ideal for this music's ambiguities, with Volkov and his orchestra providing the perfect foil."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, November 2008