Nora Chastain

Nora Chastain

American violinist Nora Chastain was described by Sir Yehudi Menuhin as
“… of the most elegant and refined violinists I know.”
The granddaughter of American composer Roy Harris, Ms. Chastain was born in Berkeley, California. After beginning her violin studies with Anne Crowden, she continued at the Cincinnati Conservatory and the Julliard School with Dorothy Delay. Later, at the International Menuhin Music Academy Gstaad, she was a student of Alberto Lysy, Ana Chumachenco and Sir Yehudi Menuhin. She also worked intensively with Sandor Vegh.

At age sixteen, Ms. Chastain made her debut in Berlin with Barber Violin Concerto. Since then, she has been a regular guest soloist with such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Cincinnati Philharmonia, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Württemburgisches Kammerorcheter Heilbronn, Orquestra Nacional do Porto, MDR Symphonieorchester Leipzig, Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Bern Symphony Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Peru. She has worked with conductors such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Sebastian Weigle, Jose Serebrier, Michael Sanderling, David Stern and Marc Tardue.  In addition, many composers have written works for Ms. Chastain, among them Daniel Schnyder, Gerhard Samuel, Susanna Erding, and Georg Wörzer.

An avid chamber music player, Ms. Chastain is a founding member of the Menuhin Festival Piano Quartet and Trio Kreisleriana. With them, she has toured extensively, playing in concert halls in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Paris, Milano, Zürich, Geneva, Edinburgh, Washington DC, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Sydney.
Her chamber groups have performed at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestpiele, Schwetzingen Festspielen and Menuhin Festival Gstaad.  She has collaborated in chamber music projects with, among others, Sharon Kam, David Geringas, Pascal Devoyon, Joshua Bell as well as with the Faure Piano Quartet, the Carmina Quartet and the Merel Quartet. 

Ms. Chastain’s recordings for Chandos, Ars, Claves, Koch-Schwann and Naxos include sonatas of Mozart; complete Beethoven sonatas; sonatas of Faure, Debussy, Honegger; many works for piano trio and quartet; Beethoven Concerto with Bartok Concerto #2; and Casella Triple Concerto.
A recent recording of Concierto Indio by the Peruvian composer Teodoro Varcarcel was nominated for a Grammy award. 
Ms. Chastain has been a prize winner at several competitions, including the Menuhin Competition in Paris in 1985, as well as being awarded the prestigious annual “Förderpreis der Europäischen Wirtschaft” in Zürich as soloist. 

As one of Europe’s most sought after teachers, Nora Chastain has amongst her students international prize winners, concertmasters of major European orchestras, members of well known chamber ensembles, and music faculty members of universities and conservatories. She gives regular master classes and serves on juries of international competitions. A main focus of her teaching is the integration of the American and European traditions of violin playing.

Nora Chastain is Professor of Violin at the Universitaet der Kuenste Berlin. From 1991 – 2020 she held a position at the Zuercher Hochschule der Kuenste, and from 1993-2004 she was Professor of Violin at the Musikhochschule Luebeck.

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… it was always clear to me that playing and teaching are two sides of one process, each complimenting the other…


One of Europe’s leading teachers, Nora Chastain has influenced an entire generation of violinists over her more than 30 years of experience. Her former students include international prizewinners, leaders and members of Germany’s most important orchestras as well as members of reknowned chamber music ensembles and professors at German music institutions.

Nora Chastain became interested in teaching as a student at the International Menuhin Music Academy. After an assistantship to Ana Chumachenko in Munich, she began her first teaching tenure at the Winterthur Conservatory (now ZHdK). Two years later she accepted a professorship at the Musikhochschule Lübeck where she stayed until 2005 when she was invited to take a position at the Universität der Künste Berlin.

She gives master classes in Europe, America and Asia and is a sought after jury member at international competitions.

Her philosophy in teaching combines the humanistic tradition of music as communication and path to growth with the lack of seperation between technical proficiency and musical expression.
Her major influences were Yehudi Menuhin, Sandor Végh, Dorothy Delay and Ana Chumachenco.

Master classes

July 24 – 30, 2024

Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT Weimar

August 28 – August 31, 2024

Festival et Academie Ravel
St. Jean de Luz


Anne Battegay Quartet Belanus
Julia Becker 1.Konzertmeisterin Tonhalle Orchester Zürich
Nadine Blumenstein 2.Violine Hessischer Rundfunk
Silvia Brüggemann Stimmführerin 2.Violine Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig
Elisabeth Bundies 1.Violine Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Assistentin Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, mehrere CD Aufnahmen
Prof. Christine Busch Professur an der Staatliche Musikhochschule Stuttgart, Konzertmeisterin La Stravaganza Köln, 2.Preis beim Wettbewerb der Musikhochschulen der BRD
Alejandro Bustamante Solist, Professur am Conservatorio Superior de Música de Castilla y León (Salamanca)
Yu Chen 2.Violin Opernhaus Zürich
Yoo Jin Chung 2.Stimmführerin 2.Violine Komische Oper Berlin
Miguel Colom Preise: International Max Rostal Competition, Concorso Postacchini, Solistische Tätigkeit , Konzertmeister Spanish National Orchestra, Professur an der Conservatorio Superior de Musica Aragon
Prof. Anke Dill Professur an der Staatliche Musikhochschule Stuttgart, 1.Preis Possehl Wettbewerb, Bartholdy Quintett
Philip Draganov Dozent für Violine, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste/PreCollege Musik, Künstlerischer Leiter Swiss International Music Academy (SIMA)
Ulrike Dumpert 2.Violine, Kopenhagener Radio-Symphonie-Orchester
Jakob Encke Primarius Vision Quartet
Neela de Fonseka 1.Violine Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1.Violine RSB Berlin
Stefano Farulli Paganini Preis Concorso Postacchini, Finalist Concorso Lipizer, Academy Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Akademie Symphonieorchesters Bayerischen Rundfunks
Elisabeta Florea 1.Violine Staatskapelle Dresden
Esther Fritzsche Belanus Quartet
Prof. Martin Funda Professur an der Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart, Primarius Armida Quartett, ARD Wettbewerb 1.Preis
Sidsel Garm-Nielsen 1.Violine Staatsoper Hamburg, Linos Ensemble
Aleksandra Glinka 1.Violine Goettingen Symphnie Orchester, 1.Violine Tonhalle Düsseldorf
Savitri Grier Konzertmeisterin Budapest Festival Orchester, 2.Konzertmeisterin Sinfonieorchester des Bayrischen Rundfunks, solistische Tätigkeit
Nimrod Guez 1.Solobratscher beim Gewandhausorchester zu Leipzig, 1.Solobratscher Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerisches Rundfunk, Professur an der Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Würzburg
Prof. Sebastian Hamman 1.Konzertmeister Frankfurt Oper, 1.Preis beim Wettbewerb der Musikhochschulen der BDR, Stipendium des Deutschen Musikwettbewerbs, Professur an der Musikhochschule Luzern, Professur an der Hochschule für Musik Freiburg
Ursula Hafenrichter Bratsche Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich
Prof. Esther Hoppe Konzertmeisterin Münchener Kammer Orchester, 1.Preis ARD München (Techler Trio), Solistische Tätigkeit, Prof. Salzburg Mozarteum
Franziska Hölscher Solistische Tätigkeit, Künstlerische Leiterin der Kammermusikreihe „Klangbrücken“ im Konzerthaus Berlin, und der Kammermusiktage Mettlach. Gemeinsam mit Kit Armstrong künstlerische Leiterin der Musiktage
Marlene Ito Karajan-Akademie der Berliner Philharmoniker, 2.Preis beim Internationalen Max Rostal Wettbewerb, 2.Konzertmeisterin in der Komischen Oper Berlin, Solistische Tätigkeit, Stimmführerin 2.Violine Berliner Philharmoniker
Tomoko Kobayashi 3.Preis beim Internationalen Max Rostal Wettbewerb, 1.Preis Gyarfas Wettbewerb, solistische Tätigkeit
Daniela Jung 2.Konzertmeisterin Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1.Violine Sinfonieorchester des Bayrischen Rundfunks
Susanne Kabel Stimmführerin 2.Violine Theater am Gärtnerplatz München
Yuri Katsumata Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
Hye Jin Kim 2.Violine Elbphilharmonie Hamburg
Melina Kim Stimmführerin 2.Violine Bamberger Symphoniker
So Eun Kim Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
Tina Kim Vorspielerin 1.Violinen Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1.Violine Düsseldorfer Symphoniker
Prof. Elisabeth Kufferath 2.Konzertmeisterin Bamberger Symphoniker, Professur an der Musikhochschule Detmold, Professur für Violine an der Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, Tetzlaff Quartett
Anja Lee 1.Violine Dresdner Philharmonik
Grace Kyungeun Lee 2. Violine Orchester des Hessischen Rundfunks instagram:grace_kyungeun_lee
Mari Lee Carnegie Hall, Ensemble Connect
Min Hee Lee Philharmonia Orchestra London
Catharina Lendle 2.Violine SWF Freiburg
Bettina Lenz 1.Violine NDR Hamburg
Sabine Lier 1.Violine Bamberger Symphoniker Freiburger Barock-Orchester
Enrico Filippo Maligno 2.Violine Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, zArt Quartet, 1.Preis Concorso Sergio Dragoni
Sandra Marttunen 1.Violine Bamberger Symphoniker, 1.Preis Brahms Wettbewerb Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
Santiago Medina Professor Conservatorio de Universidad Nacional Bogotá,Mitglied bei Spira Mirabilis, Gastmusiker bei Akademie für Alte Musik, 1.Preis beim Violinwettbewerb “Olga Chamorro“, Artistic and Managing Director, Musica Humana, Konzertmeister des Colombian Chamber Orchestra, 1.Violine des Q-Arte Quartetts
Daniel Meller 2.Konzertmeister Symphonie Orchester St. Gallen, Trio Rafale
Sonia Metzendorf 2.Violine Hessischer Rundfunk Orchester Frankfurt
Sarah Michler 2.Violine Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, mehrfach 1.Preis Jugend Musiziert auf Bundesebene
Inès Morin Zürcher Kammerorchester, Stimmfüherin 2.Violine Luzerner Symphonieorchester
Seiko Morishita 2.Violine Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich
Prof. Heime Müller Artemis Quartett, 1.Preis ARD München, 1.Preis Borciani Wettbewerb, 1.Preis Deutsche Musik Wettbewerb, Professur an der Universität der Künste Berlin, CD Aufnahmen für Virgin Classics, Professor Musikhochschule Lübeck, Conservatorio Reina Sofia Madrid
Rahel Rilling Stimmführerin 2.Violine NDR Hamburg
Denise Nittel Dresdner Philharmonie
Sophie Panzier NDR Radiophilharmonie,Trio d’Iroise, Bundesauswahl Konzerte Junger Künstler
Sara Pastine Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Primaria Quartetto Charis
Laura Perez 2.Violine Staatskapelle Berlin
Johanna Pichlmair Preise: Montreal International Musical Competition, International Max Rostal Competition, International Ysaye Competition, Internationaler Musikwettbewerb Bayreuth PACEM IN TERRIS, Internationaler Fritz Kreisler Wettbewerb, 1.Violine Bayrischer Rundfunk, 1.Violine Berliner Philharmoniker
Carla Prestin 3.Konzertmeisterin Brandenburgisches Philharmonie
Fanny Robilliard Trio Karènine, ARD Preisträgerin
Julia Rogozia Staatstheater Kassel
Julius Aria Sahbai Solistische Tätigkeit, CD Aufnahmen (Paganini Konzert) 1.Violine Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Sarah Saviet Interpretin moderne Musik, u.a. Ensemble Moderne, Riot Ensemble,
Leila Schayegh 1.Violine Opernhaus Zürich Baroque solist, Lehrstelle Schola Cantorum Basel
Julia Schleicher Staatstheater Kassel
Anne Schnyder 2.Violine Staatsoper Hamburg
Ludwig Schulze Komische Oper Berlin
Lea Schwamm Freiberufliche moderne sowie Barockgeigerin, ensemble reflektor, Managerin und Künstlerische Leitung Clinker Lounge Concerts Berlin
Jonathan Schwarz Karajan Akademie Berlin Philharmoniker, Primarius Leonkoro Quartett 2.Preis (ex aequo) Premio Paolo Borciani, Musikpreis der Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung
Chouchane Siranossian 1.Konzertmeisterin Städtisches Symphonie-Orchester St. Gallen
Tanja Sonc 1.Violine Zürcher Kammerorchester
Marjolein Streefkerk Zuercher Konservatorium
Alican Süner 1.Preis sowie Publikumspreis International Max Rostal Competition, 1.Preis sowie Publikumspreis Concorso Postacchini, Interim Konzertmeister Komische Oper Berlin 2019-2020, 1.Violine Zürich Tonhalle
Francois Theis 1.Violine Berner Symphonie Orchester
Mirjam Truck 1.Violine Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Frankfurt
Gabriele Türk 2.Konzertmeisterin Radio-Symphonie-Orchester des Süddeutschen Rundfunks Stuttgart
Ana Valderrama 1.Preis International Violin Competition Pablo Sarasate, Professorin Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Madrid
Zsolt Visontay 1.Konzertmeister Philharmonia Orchestra London
Amelie Wallner 2.Violine Leonkoro Quartet, 2.Preis (ex aequo) Premio Paolo Borciani, Musikpreis der Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung
Anne Solveig Weber Bamberger Symphoniker, Management Team Holzhauser Musiktage Mitbegründerin Coupon Concerts
Katharina Weiss 1.Preis beim Internationalen Takazaki Wettbewerb Japan, Leihinstrument der Stiftung Deutsches Musikleben
Hellen Weiss 1.Preis Concertino Prag, Leihinstrument der Stiftung Deutsches Musikleben, Lehrauftrag an der Musikhoschschule Dresden, solistische Tätigkeit
Phillip Wollheim 1.Violine Zürcher Kammerorchester
Victoria Wong 1.Preis Violinwettbewerb Ibolyka-Gyarfas-Stiftung, 6.Preis Michael Hill International Violin Competition, 3. Preis Mirecourt International Wettbewerb
Szuhwha Wu
Mo Yi Assistentin an der Universität der Künste Berlin, 1.Preis Wuhan Violinwettbewerb, Best Student of Peking und den Preis des Kulturministerium Chinas, 1.Preis und Publikumspreis “Förderpreiswettbewerb der Konzertgesellschaft München, 2.Preis beim 3.Internationalen Telemann Wettbewerb Magdeburg, Professur an der Königlichen Akademie der Musik Aarhus, Lehrstelle an der Universität der Künste Berlin
Elena Zhunke 2.Violine Städtisches Symphonie-Orchester St. Gallen

Can one really separate technique from music? Technique is only a synonym for the tools we have to transform a musical idea into sound. Without the idea, meaningless. Now, motoric, that’s another thing!


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Photos ©2021 Marco Blessano

Bartók - Concerto for Violin No. 2: I Allegro non troppo
Bartók - Concerto for Violin No. 2: II Andante Tranquillo
Fauré - Sonata for Violin & Piano, Op. 13: I Allegro molto
Fauré - Sonata for Violin & Piano, Op. 13: II Andante
Beethoven - Sonata for Violin & Piano No.3, Op.12: I Allegro con spirito
Beethoven - Sonata for Violin & Piano No.3, Op.12: II Andante con molt' espressione
Beethoven - Sonata in a Minor for Piano and Violin, Op.23: I Presto
Beethoven - Violin Sonata No.7, Op.30 No.2: II Adagio cantabile
Beethoven - Sonata for Violin & Piano OP.47: I Adagio sostenuto

Nora Chastain is one of the most elegant and refined violinists I know.

Sir Yehudi Menuhin