Canadian-born violinist Leila Bronia Josefowicz began attracting attention through her playing from the age of ten.
Her Polish father is a physicist; her English mother, Wendy, is a geneticist. The family moved to California when Leila was still a toddler, and her upbringing and education are American. Her family enrolled her in a Suzuki violin class, where she learned on a baby-sized violin. She loved the instrument. Her teachersRead more discovered that she had perfect pitch. Even more, she had a strong desire to work at improving her playing, which even her scientist father said was "determined and driven." She started regular lessons at the age of five with Idel Low, and at the age of eight was accepted by California's leading teacher, Robert Lipsett, at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Northridge, California.
Although she was not pushed into the life of a professional child prodigy, she was one in fact and sometimes played at parties and concerts, including at the age of ten, a nationally telecast tribute to comedian Bob Hope. By then she already had some of the standard concertos in her repertory. The appearance led her to representation by IMG Management. She says she never had stage fright, even at such a young age: "I'm an extrovert, a performer. This is entertainment."
At thirteen, she was granted a scholarship to attend the prestigious Curtis School of Music in Philadelphia, where her family moved in order to stay with her. She studied with Jaime Laredo, Joseph Gingold, Felix Galimer, and Jascha Brodsky. In 1994, still in her teens, she became an exclusive artist with the Philips classical CD label and recorded the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius concertos.
Also in 1994, she made her debut in Carnegie Hall playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. In the same year she received an Avery Fischer Career Grant. Soon she appeared with many of the top orchestras in the world, including the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the London Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the French National Orchestra. Her second record, a set of solo violin works by Bartók, ?saye, Ernst, and Paganini, won the Diapason d'Or prize. Subsequent recordings have won the Echo Prize in 1998 and another Diapason d'Or in 1996.
After graduating from Curtis, she moved to New York, which is now her home and the center of her performance career.
She is also a recital and chamber music performer. She tends to concentrate on this aspect of the violinist's art in her extensive annual festival performances. These include the Marlboro Music Festival, the Osaka Festival, the Verbier Festival, and the Stavanger Festival. She has played in chamber ensembles with Thomas Hampson, Sylvia McNair, Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, Truls Mřrk, Martha Argerich, and Misha Maisky.
In 1993 and 1994 she had the loan of the famous "Ruby" Stradivarius, which she used on the Tchaikovsky/Sibelius CD. Since 1995 she has used Dr. Herbert Axelrod's Guarnerius del Gesů instrument called the "Ebersolt." She has outside interests, including sports, though she takes care not to damage her hands, using such tactics as playing volleyball in boxing gloves. She loves jazz, and names Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis as her favorites. Novelist Ann Rice became a fan of hers by listening to her records during the time she wrote Violin, and as a result, Josefowicz has made a CD inspired by the novel. Read less