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Ani Kavafian

Biography

Born: May 10, 1948; Istanbul, Turkey  
Ani Kavafian is one of the most respected of American violinists, particularly in the field of chamber music and in the more modern repertory. Her father was born in Bulgaria to the family of an Armenian refugee from the notorious suppression of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1914 and 1915. Her father, in turn, left Bulgaria, fleeing the Communist government there and settling in Turkey. Her father was the principal violist of the Read more Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, where he met Ani's mother, a member of the first violin section.

Ani recalls that there was no particular anti-Armenian sentiment in Istanbul when she was a young girl, but that it reappeared during anti-Greek riots that broke out in 1956 over the issue of independence of Cyprus. The Kavafian family left Turkey and settled in Detroit.

By then, Ani's younger sister Ida had been born (October 29, 1952). Ani had a strong interest in learning piano and studied that instrument, but recalled that she used to always put her ear against the door to her mother's practice room just so she could hear the violin. Beginning in 1957, the two girls began taking violin lessons from Ara Zerounian and later from Mischa Mischakoff. Ani recalls Mischakoff as a tough teacher who particularly stressed accuracy of intonation. Once, she says, he took her violin, untuned the strings, played her music perfectly in tune, then handed it to her and demanded she do the same: "No excuses! No matter what your open strings are doing you should be able to adjust."

In 1966, she went to New York to enter the Juilliard School, where she studied with Ivan Galamian. It is to this teacher that she attributed the development of her sound which, she says, was "pretty but very small" when she first came to him, and credits Sally Thomas as establishing a solid technical foundation through frequent drills.

Sister Ida followed the same career path, arriving at Juilliard in 1969, and the two have frequently performed together in various forms of chamber music. Ani made her debut that year at Carnegie Recital Hall. Her European debut was in Paris in 1973.

She and Ida have both established leading violin careers. Ani toured widely in the 1970s, appearing with the world's leading orchestras. She has appeared at the White House three times and on television frequently. She joined the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music in the 1980s.

In 1979, she joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She became the senior member of that organization (which later also included Ida). Although she loves the standard repertory (particularly the Mozart, Brahms, and Mendelssohn concertos), Ani is best known for twentieth century music. She also is especially fond of the Bartók second and Shostakovich first concertos, the concerto of Samuel Barber, and that of Korngold. She often plays the Khachaturian concerto, but one gets the impression that this is because of the Armenian connection to that work. She has premiered Henri Lazarof's Concerto for violin and string orchestra and Tod Machover's Concerto for hyper violin and orchestra (using a violin as input to a computer to produce extended sounds).

She is married to Bernard Mindich, an artist. Their son, Matthew, is a promising cello student. Ani Kavafian owns the 1736 instrument known as the Muir-Mackenzie Stradivarius. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 29 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Robert White Sings Beethoven / White, Ma, Kavafian, Sanders
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 53398 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Robert White,  Samuel Sanders,  Ani Kavafian
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  • 2.
    Paul Chihara: Love Music
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1290 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Chihara
    Performer:  Alyssa Park,  Gary Gray,  Douglas Masek,  John Moses  ... 
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Harlem Quartet
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  • 3.
    French Chamber Music - Milhaud, Poulenc, Saint-Saens / Previn
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68181 Release Date: 02/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Darius Milhaud,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Richard Todd,  André Previn,  Stephen Taylor,  Dennis Godburn  ... 
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  • 4.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John T. Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 5.
    Schubert: String Quartet No 14;  Bartok: String Quartet No 1 / American String Project
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1269 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Jorja Fleezanis,  Ani Kavafian,  Toby Appel,  Julie Albers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American String Project
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  • 6.
    Beethoven: Folk Song Arrangements / Robert White
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 5994 Release Date: 03/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Robert White,  Samuel Sanders,  Ani Kavafian
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 7.
    Justin Dello Joio: Two Concert Etudes, Etc / Ohlsson, Et Al
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9220 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Justin Dello Joio
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Carter Brey,  Jeremy Denk,  Ani Kavafian
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  • 8.
    Marlboro Festival - Mendelssohn: String Quintets / Laredo, Kavafian
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Portrait   Catalog: 45883 Release Date: 02/01/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Jaime Laredo,  Ani Kavafian,  Heiichiro Ohyama,  Kim Kashkashian  ... 
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  • 9.
    American Classics - Wuorinen: String Sextet, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559288 Release Date: 09/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Wuorinen
    Performer:  Paul Neubauer,  Ani Kavafian,  Ida Kavafian,  Paul Coletti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center,  Group for Contemporary Music,  Tashi
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  • 10.
    Mozart: Violin Sonatas / Kavafian, Osorio
    Label: Artek   Catalog: 32 Release Date: 09/26/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ani Kavafian,  Jorge Federico Osorio
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  • 11.
    Webern: Symphony, Six Pieces, Etc / Craft, Philharmonia
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557530 Release Date: 01/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Webern,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Jesse Mills,  Charles Neidich,  Michael Lowenstern,  Jennifer Welch-Babidge  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Craft
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  20th Century Classics Ensemble
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  • 12.
    Machover: Hyperstring Trilogy / Rose, Haimovitz, Et Al
    Label: Oxingale Records   Catalog: 2003 Release Date: 05/06/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tod Machover
    Performer:  Ani Kavafian,  Kim Kashkashian,  Karol Bennett,  Matt Haimovitz
    Conductor:  Gil Rose
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Modern Orchestra Project
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Mendelssohn: Octet, Sextet / Lincoln Center Society
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3266 Release Date: 11/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Edgar Meyer,  David Golub,  Paul Neubauer,  Toby Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  David Shifrin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    Chamber Music Of Weber / David Shifrin, Et Al
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3194 Release Date: 01/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Joseph Küffner
    Performer:  David Shifrin,  David Golub,  Maria Bachmann,  Paul Neubauer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    CD: $17.99
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  • 15.
    The Complete Chamber Music Of Claude Debussy
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3167 Release Date: 01/08/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Lee Luvisi,  Anne-Marie McDermott,  Fred Sherry,  Joseph Silverstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center,  Orion String Quartet
    CD: $34.99
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  • 16.
    Five American Clarinet Quintets / David Shifrin
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3183 Release Date: 12/08/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Bruce Adolphe,  Bright Sheng,  Joan Tower,  Ellen Taaffe Zwilich  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Neubauer,  Fred Sherry,  Ida Kavafian,  David Shifrin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
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  • 17.
    Baby Needs Baroque
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1609 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Allan Vogel,  Patricia Mabee,  Paul Galbraith,  Nancy Sartain  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony,  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 18.
    Serene Journeys Through Classical Music
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1608 Release Date: 09/22/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  William Henry Harris,  Peter Hallock,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  Todd Wilson,  Eric Plutz,  Mark Kruczek  ... 
    Conductor:  Donald Pearson,  Dennis Keene,  Gerard Schwarz,  Zdenek Macal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Denver St. John's Episcopal Cathedral Choirs,  Voices of Ascension,  Ascension Music Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 19.
    Babadjanian: Piano Trio, Violin Sonata, Etc/ Kavafian, Et Al
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 225030 Release Date: 06/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arno Babadjanyan
    Performer:  Avo Kuyumjian,  Ani Kavafian,  Suren Bagratuni
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  • 20.
    Bach: The Six Brandenburg Concertos / Cms Of Lincoln Center
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3185 Release Date: 08/22/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ani Kavafian,  Todd Phillips,  Paul Neubauer,  Steven Tenenbom  ... 
    Conductor:  David Shifrin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    CD: $34.99
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  • 21.
    Mystery Classics
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1601 Release Date: 07/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Maurice Ravel,  Louis Vierne,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Carol Rosenberger,  David Britton,  Ani Kavafian  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  Eleazar de Carvalho
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequoia String Quartet,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  Chamber Music Northwest  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Beethoven In New York / Chamber Music Society Lincoln Center
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3177 Release Date: 01/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ransom Wilson,  Ani Kavafian,  Paul Neubauer,  Milan Turkovic  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Dvorák: Serenade, Quintet / Chamber Music Society
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3152 Release Date: 01/31/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Ani Kavafian,  Paul Neubauer,  Gary Hoffman,  Edgar Meyer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    CD: $17.99
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  • 24.
    Bartók, Et Al / The Chamber Music Society Of Lincoln Center
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3151 Release Date: 07/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály,  Ernö von Dohnányi
    Performer:  Richard Fitz,  Lee Luvisi,  Gordon Gottlieb,  Gilbert Kalish  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Intimate Encounters
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3505 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  David Shifrin,  Carol Rosenberger,  Allan Vogel,  Kenneth Munday  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orford String Quartet,  Chamber Music Northwest
    CD: $9.99
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