Sabina Rakcheyeva
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Sabina Rakcheyeva violin


Member of the European Cultural Parliament, winner of “The Best Violinist of the Year” competition in Baku, first recipient of “Artist in Residence” Award from the Fund of Mutual Understanding in New York and a scholarship from Italian Ministry of Culture, violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva is first ever Azerbaijani to be accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. She appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Azerbaijan, Europe and the United States, performed in more than forty countries and was featured on BBC, CNN, Voice of America Radio and US government television.

Ms Rakcheyeva began studying violin at the age of six. She graduated magna cum laude from Azerbaijan State Music College (1994), Baku Music Academy with Bachelor’s (1998) and Master’s (2000) Degrees in Performance and Teaching and has completed Master’s Program at Juilliard School in New York in 2002 and Royal Conservatory of Belgium in 2007. She also holds Certificates in Performance from Academia Chigiana (Italy) and Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts (France). She has studied with Masao Kawasaki, Franco Gulli, Stephen Clapp, and Mikhail Kugel and has played in master classes for Mstislav Rostropovich, Joseph Silverstein, James Buswell, Gerard Poulet, Mauricio Fuks, Robert Levine, Harvey Shapiro and Charles Neidich.

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan on the crossroads of East and West, Ms Rakcheyeva is passionate about fusion of Eastern and Western music and has performed her improvisations on traditional Mugham to the great critical acclaim. She was interviewed and recorded her own compositions for the BBC World Music Archives. Ms Rakcheyeva is also very fascinated by jazz; her experiences in this direction include master class with jazz violinist Regina Carter, performances with Bell Canto Trio (Holland) and Stian Carstenson at Caspian Jazz and Blues Festival and collaboration with Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin at Verbier Music Festival. Ms Rakcheyeva’s major solo and chamber music engagements include performances at the UNESCO Hall in Paris, Conway Hall in London, United Nations General Assembly Hall, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul Chapel at Columbia University and Lincoln
Center in New York.

Since 2000 Ms Rakcheyeva has regularly participated in the UBS Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland where she performed chamber music with Dmitri Sitkovetski and Michel Dalberto. She has also played in such prestigious festivals as Chamber Fest and Focus! Festival (New York, USA), Sarasota (Florida, USA), Jeunesses Musicales (Germany), Verbier (Switzerland), Menton (France), Salzburg (Austria), Tuscan Sun (Italy), Flanders (Belgium), Proms (Great Britain), Miyazaki (Japan), Beijing (China).

An advocate orchestra player, Ms Rakcheyeva was a concertmaster of the International Youth Chamber Orchestra in Germany. She is a founding member of UBS Verbier Orchestra, where she has played with such renowned conductors as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Yuri Temirkanov, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Kent Nagano, touring all over Europe, North and South Americas, and Asia. She has performed at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Forum Grumaldi in Monaco, Opera House in Barcelona, Tonhalle in Zurich, Frankfurt Opera, Carnegie Hall in New York, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Santory Hall in Tokyo. In 2002 Ms Rakcheyeva participated in the Internationales Orshesterinstitut and performed with members of Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Music Festival. In 2003-2005, she joined the New European Strings Orchestra for performances at Toscan Sun Festival in Italy.

Among her recent projects were series of concerts and recordings for EMI in North America, Europe and Far East as a member of Verbier Chamber Orchestra with renowned violinist Maxim Vengerov. Soon she plans to release a CD featuring her own compositions and improvisations.

Apart from performing, Ms Rakcheyeva is interested in Cultural Diplomacy and currently, is a PhD Candidate at School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is a founder of Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble, which is creating its unique voice through improvisations and taking its influences from the musical traditions of the East and West. A strong believer that “art can change the world”, Ms Rakcheyeva addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2003 on behalf of the Music Youth. She was honored to perform for the renowned musicians and cultural leaders Mstislav Rostropovich and Daniel Barenboim and for the Presidents of the European Commission, Azerbaijan, Russia, Romania, United Nations Secretary-General and Prince of Liechtenstein. Most recently, she participated and performed at Colloquiums on European and International Affairs in Liechtenstein and Belgium as well as "Transformational Diplomacy: Shaping the Future of International Relations" Symposium in London. In May 2008, Ms Rakcheyeva was nominated for the membership at the European Cultural Parliament (ECP), the only European Forum for artists and intellectuals from all parts of Europe.

In June 2008 Ms Rakcheyeva was invited to perform at the 90th Anniversary Session of the Azerbaijani Parliament in Baku as well as being selected to join the Symposium of Young Cultural Leaders in Berlin where she performed her compositions at the Bundestag. In July 2008 she took a part in a conference on "Religion, Diplomacy and International Relations" in Vienna and performed at the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs.

Fascinated by the cross-cultural collaborations, Ms Rakcheyeva has taken part in projects with dancers, poets, painters and architects. In 2008 she created a project "BACH to BAKU" which brought together music improvisation and a live painting. It was first introduced in London and later, in Azerbaijan and was broadcast on National TV stations.

In September 2008 Ms Rakcheyeva was invited to the Architectural Biennale in Venice to perform at the dinner in an honour of one of the most prominent architects of our time Zaha Hadid.

In October 2008, on the invitation of Wilton Park, Ms Rakcheyeva took part and performed at the conference on New Challenges of Public Diplomacy and in March 2009 was a guest speaker and presenter at the Symposium Cultural Diplomacy: Clash or Conversation organized by the University of Southern California. Further 2009 concert appearances included Colburn Performing Arts Center (Los Angeles), Museum of Arts “La Mirada” (Monterey), Singapore Conservatoire, 100 Jazz Club and The House of Lords in London.

Ms Rakcheyeva is a member of the Advisory Board (Arts & Culture) at the European Azerbaijan Society and has recently initiated and coordinated a first Azerbaijani Cultural Weekend in London in November 2009 which attracted the audience of nearly two thousand people over two days. Ms Rakcheyeva speaks fluent English, Russian, and Azerbajani with some Italian, French and Turkish languages.

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