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Biliana Voutchkova

is a thoroughly engaged composer-performer/interpreter whose work combines regular performances of major solo violin/ensemble works, new works by contemporary composers often written specially for her, and improvisation. Her research as a creative improviser spans the widest possible range of sound/music/movement and extends the sonic and technical capacities of her instrument, evolving into the development of a highly individual musical language​ as a soloist and ​in collaboration​ with the Splitter Orchestra, Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, Ensemble Modern, Ensembles United Berlin and ​ zeitkratzer, among others.


Biliana was born in a family of musicians. She started playing violin at the age of four, made her orchestra debut at the age of nine, and recorded her first CD for the Japanese label Crown Record Ltd. at the age of sixteen. Biliana studied classical violin with Peter Arnaoudov, Abram Stern and Felix Galimir, and received top honors at the Kozian International Music Competition, CRS National Competition for Performing Artists, and Music and the Earth International Contemporary Music Competition. At the age of nineteen, she received the special Jasha Heifetz Violin Scholarship to study at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Biliana holds degrees from the University of Southern California and the New School for Social Research/Mannes College of Music in New York. After her move to New York in 1995, her continuous interest and exploration of today’s music remains being a major part of her work.

Biliana’s violin is a mystery — perhaps a Gagliano? Or a German copy of a Gagliano? It was definitely made around 1900. Biliana received it from an old violin player who truly loved the instrument and lamented that he could not play it anymore due to his age and health difficulties. The violin was well known throughout Bulgaria, and many musicians attempted to buy it, but its owner refused to sell. Nevertheless, he allowed some violinists to play the instrument in his house and enjoyed hearing the beautiful sound of the instrument. Biliana was one of them, practicing with the violin very often — at one point several times a week — and felt completely in love with it. Months and months passed by, and finally the old violin player decided to sell her the instrument. Biliana still feels greatly honored.