Portrait María Dueñas

María Dueñas

Violin
© Felix Broede
General Management

Spanish violinist María Dueñas beguiles audiences with the breathtaking array of colours she draws from her instrument. Her technical prowess, artistic maturity and bold interpretations have inspired rave reviews, captivated competition juries, and secured invitations to appear with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. 

Born in Granada in 2002, María Dueñas fell in love with classical music via the recordings her parents played constantly at home and the concerts she attended in her native city. She started playing the violin at six and enrolled at her hometown's conservatory of music  a year later. In 2014 she won a scholarship abroad sponsored by Juventudes Musicales de Madrid as well as the Humboldt Foundation's Wardwell Stipend and at first moved to Dresden to study at the Carl Maria von Weber Academy of Music. There she was soon discovered by conductor Marek Janowski, at whose invitation she later made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Since 2016 she has been studying with the renowned violin pedagogue Boris Kuschnir at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna. 

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has hailed the “freedom and joyous individuality” of her playing, while The Strad described her rising-star status as “seemingly unstoppable”, after she won a whole series of international violin competitions. Not least among these was her livestreamed run to victory at the 2021 Menuhin Violin Competition, at which she won not only the first prize and audience prize, but also a global online following. Her competition victories began with the 2017 Zhuhai International Mozart Competition and 2018 Vladimir Spivakov International Violin Competition. In addition to her success at the Menuhin Competition, 2021 saw her win first prize at the Getting to Carnegie Competition, the Grand Prize at the Viktor Tretyakov International Violin Competition, and the career advancement prize at the Rheingau Music Festival. She was also named as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist 2021-23. In April 2023, she was awarded the prestigious Premio Princesa de Girona de las Artes y las Letras in her native Spain.

In 2022, María Dueñas signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. Her spectacular debut album, entitled Beethoven and Beyond, recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein with the Wiener Symphoniker and Manfred Honeck, was released in May 2023. It features Beethoven's violin concerto, for which she has composed her own cadenzas. It also includes five showpieces for violin and orchestra by Kreisler, Saint-Saëns, Spohr, Wieniawski and Ysaÿe and the cadenzas written by the same composers for the first movement of the Beethoven concerto. 

The multi-faceted artist became fond of composing after she started writing cadenzas for Mozart´s violin concertos. A solo piano piece, Farewell, was awarded a prize in the 2016 “Von fremden Ländern und Menschen” Competition for Young Composers. Recorded by Evgeny Sinaiski, it was also transformed into a music video. Her most recent composition, Homage 1770 for solo violin, was released this summer by Deutsche Grammophon.

A dedicated chamber musician, María Dueñas has performed with baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Itamar Golan, among other artists. She has also premiered several works written for and dedicated to her by the late Catalan composer Jordi Cervelló, including the Milstein Caprice.

She has meanwhile performed with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and BBC Symphony Orchestra under conductors such as Manfred Honeck, Herbert Blomstedt, Marek Janowski, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gustavo Gimeno, Michael Sanderling, Alain Altinoglu and Alan Gilbert. At the Évian Festival 2023, she played together with Renaud Capuçon. María Dueñas maintains a close relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. After her 2021 debut at the Hollywood Bowl, they joined forces again the following year for the world premiere of Gabriela Ortiz’s violin concerto Altar de cuerda, of which she is the dedicatee, causing an international sensation and followed by sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall, in Boston and at the Cervantino Festival in Mexico. In 2024, further concerts will follow in Los Angeles and on tour in Barcelona, Paris and London.

Highlights of the 2023/2024 season also include a tour with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under Paavo Järvi, concerts with the Dresden Philharmonic under Kent Nagano, and her debuts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding, the Munich Philharmonic (again with Manfred Honeck), the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France under Mikko Franck, and the Bamberg Symphony under Christoph Eschenbach.

María Dueñas plays a Nicolò Gagliano violin of 17?4, on loan from the German Musical Instrument Fund administered by Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, and the Stradivari Camposelice of 1710, on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

This biography may not be published in edited/abbreviated form without prior consent of KünstlerSekretariat am Gasteig. 




30. May 2024 - 20:00

Paris, Philharmonie de Paris

Gabriela Ortiz: Altar de cuerda

Info & Tickets



2. June 2024 - 19:30

London, Barbican Centre

Gabriela Ortiz: Altar de cuerda

Info & Tickets



21. June 2024 - 20:00

Bamberg, Konzerthalle Bamberg

Ludwig van Beethoven: Konzert für Violine und Orchester D-Dur op. 61

Info & Tickets



  • Manche Werke, so scheint es, warten nur darauf, bis endlich jemand kommt, der zeigt, was wirklich in ihnen steckt. Für das Violinkonzert von Erich Wolfgang Korngold ist das María Duenas. Die Spanierin, noch keine 21 Jahre alt, entwirft eine vollgültige Persönlichkeit, widerspenstig, mit charaktervollem, bisweilen gar säurehaltigem statt lukullischem Ton. Die Solostimme des Konzerts mag träumerisch lyrisch getönt sein, doch María Duenas kann sich auch geräuschvoll durchsetzen, resolut austeilen, die Spiccato-Passagen aufspießen, als ob ein Strawinsky sie geschrieben hätte. Korngold hat in diesem Werk musikalische Themen aufgegriffen, die er in Partituren für Hollywood-Filme verwendet hatte. Schwer zu sagen, ob er bei der kompositorisch kunstvollen Verarbeitung an eine bestimmte Schauspielerin gedacht hat. Bei María Duenas fühlt man sich eher an eine trotzig souveräne Katharine Hepburn denn an eine verliebt leidende Ingrid Bergman erinnert. Sogar den biografischen Hintergrund dieser Person lässt sie erahnen: Duenas artikuliert auch längere Phrasen mit Nachdruck durch, sägt in der Höhe so unbarmherzig, dass gleich zwei Bogenhaare reißen, und wenn sie einmal gleichsam einen charmant klingenden Augenaufschlag macht, sollte ihr Gegenüber sich dennoch nicht in Sicherheit wiegen. Einfach furios.
  • María Dueñas gefällt mit schönem, aber nie ins Süßliche abgleitenden Ton, edelsteinpräziser Phrasierung und maximaler Präsenz. Eine Künstlerin, die stets die Balance zwischen spieltechnischer Brillanz und Tiefe des Ausdrucks zu wahren versteht und die Korngolds akustischen Breitwand-Sound so zelebriert, dass jeder Anflug von Kitsch außen vor bleibt. Diese traumwandlerisch sichere Gratwanderung begeistert, weil das Spiel der Spanierin, die in Wien studiert, auch in den virtuosesten Passagen stets unprätentiös bleibt.
    Erlanger Nachrichten
    Hans von Draminski: Die Brillanz und der schöne Ton, in: Erlanger Nachrichten, 06.10.2023
  • After Ligeti came the highlight of the evening: María Dueñas and Brahms. A magnificent performance, delicate, musical, expressive, resoundingly powerful, technically impeccable. Is such a performance normal? No, it is not; it is, quite simply, extraordinary. One declares oneself verbally impotent in the face of such astonishing sublimity. (Übersetzung aus dem Spanischen)
    Scherzo
    Michael Thallium: "MADRID / ORTVE: María Dueñas, dueña y señora del Teatro Monumental", in: Scherzo, 14.04.2023
  • Ihre Mischung aus Straffheit und Elastizität, Elan und Sensibilität bezauberte genauso wie der fokussierte, leuchtstarke Ton ihrer Geige. Mehr noch als die Themenpräsentation fesselte ihre Aufwertung des figurativen Materials, die Emotionalisierungen der Akkordzerlegungen.
    Der Standard
    "Violinistin María Dueñas im Musikverein: Fesselnde Akkordzerlegungen", in: Der Standard, 26.01.2023
  • Seconds into the piece, the violin soloist, 19-year-old Maria Dueñas, stunned the crowd with her technical brilliance. Her emotive performance throughout the piece complimented her promising virtuosity.
  • In the introductory measures of the first movement, Dueñas’s opening notes really burned, the struck chords gleamed, the visceral impact of it all greater than what memory recalls about the first performance.
  • Poised and unshowy, she [Dueñas] owns this exceedingly difficult concerto [by Gabriela Ortiz]. Her tone is slender but so purposefully focused that it easily carries. You can tell that it is purposeful, because when Ortiz asks for a plum-rich, vibrating expressiveness, she manages that brilliantly.
    Los Angeles Times
    Mark Swed: „The environmental impact of composers Ellen Reid and Gabriela Ortiz, indoors and out”, in: Los Angeles Times, 18.05.2022



Lothar Schacke

Lothar Schacke

Director, General Management
e-mail
+49 89 44488790
Eva Oswalt

Eva Oswalt

Head of Artist Operations
e-mail
+49 89 44488796

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