Who is Elena Urioste?

US-born violinist Elena Urioste is a former BBC New Generation Artist, who has performed with major orchestras throughout America and internationally. Co-founder with her husband, the British pianist and composer Tom Poster, of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective in 2017, she is also a committed chamber musician and artistic director of Chamber Music by the Sea, an annual festival in Maryland, US. During the pandemic, she and Poster launched #UriPosteJukeBox – daily videos streamed over 88 consecutive days of lockdown, including six new commissions.

When and where was Elena Urioste born?

Urioste was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in April 1986, but grew up in Lansdale, Philadelphia. Her father is of Basque and Mexican heritage, and her mother is Sicilian, Russian and Hungarian.

When did she first learn to play the violin?

Urioste’s parents enjoyed classical music but were not musicians themselves. At the age of two, she saw violinist Itzhak Perlman’s appearance on Sesame Street and asked her parents for a violin. Three years later, when Urioste was five, they allowed her to begin Suzuki violin lessons through her school’s stringed instrument programme. Shortly thereafter, she began studying privately and made fast progress, appearing as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 13.

Who were Elena Urioste’s teachers?

Urioste is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. Her teachers and mentors include Joseph Silverstein, David Cerone, Ida Kavafian, Pamela Frank, Claude Frank, Choong-Jin Chang, Soovin Kim and Ferenc Rados.

How did her early career develop?

Urioste took top prizes in the junior and senior Sphinx Competition for young players of minority backgrounds, which led to her debut at Carnegie Hall, New York in 2004 and to the release of an album on the White Pine label in 2008. She also performed at New York's Lincoln Center in 2009, and was awarded a Salon de Virtuosi career grant. She was named a BBC New Generation Artist from 2012-14.

What about her more recent career highlights?

In 2016 Urioste founded the annual Chamber Music by the Sea festival in Berlin, Maryland, and in 2017 she and pianist Tom Poster founded the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, a flexible ensemble of diverse musicians, which in 2020 became the Wigmore Hall’s new Associate Ensemble.

More like this

She and Poster have recorded several albums together for BIS, Chandos and Orchid Classics. In April 2022 they were awarded BBC Music Magazine’s Premiere Award for The Jukebox Album, based on their 2020 #UriPosteJukeBox lockdown project, for which the pair had shared a new video online daily for 88 consecutive days, including six new commissions.

As a soloist Urioste has appeared with many leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and London Philharmonic, as well as the Boston Pops and the Malaysian Philharmonic.

She will perform Ethel Smyth’s Concerto for Violin and Horn with horn player Ben Goldscheider and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the Proms on 25 July 2022.

Where does Elena Urioste live?

Urioste divides her time between the US and the UK, and lives with her pianist husband Tom Poster and their young son Tico.

What violin does Urioste play?

Urioste plays on a c.1706 Alessandro Gagliano violin and a Nicolas Kittel bow, both on extended loan from the private collection of Dr Charles E. King through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

And another thing…

Urioste is an enthusiastic yoga practitioner and is co-founder of Intermission, a programme that aims to encourage healthy and holistic music making through yoga and meditation.

Photo © Chris Gloag


Charlotte SmithEditor of BBC Music Magazine

Charlotte Smith is the editor of BBC Music Magazine. Born in Australia, she hails from a family of musicians with whom she played chamber music from a young age. She earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from London's Royal College of Music, followed by a master’s in English from Cambridge University. She was editor of The Strad from 2017 until the beginning of 2022, and has also worked for Gramophone Magazine and as a freelance arts writer. In her spare time, she continues to perform as an active chamber musician.