First Violin

Born in Munich in 1981, violinist Arabella Steinbacher began studying the violin at the age of three. Her mother is a singer who came to Germany from Japan to study music, and her father was formerly first Solorepetitor for the Bavarian State Opera. At nine, she became the youngest violin student of Ana Chumachenko at the Munich Academy of Music. She received further musical inspiration and guidance from Ivry Gitlis. In 2001, Ms. Steinbacher won the sponsorship prize of the Free State of Bavaria and in the same year she was awarded a scholarship by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. Ms. Steinbacher's career was launched in 2004 with an unexpected debut in Paris, when she stepped in on short notice for an ailing colleague and performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. She made her San Francisco Symphony debut, as a Shenson Young Artist, in March 2011.

In the 2016-17 season, Ms. Steinbacher appears as Principal Guest Artist at the Frankfurter Museums-Gesellschaft and plays with the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra. Other highlights include her first tour with the Oslo Philharmonic throughout Europe, appearances with the Danish National Symphony (including a performance as part of the San Francisco Symphony Great Performers Series on April 3), and the Berlin Radio Symphony. She also appears in recitals with her longtime duo partners Robert Kulek and Peter von Vienhardt. 

Ms. Steinbacher has recorded exclusively for Pentatone Classics since 2009. On her latest CD, Fantasies, Rhapsodies, and Daydreams, she appears with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo performing works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Vaughan Williams, Massenet, Waxman, and Sarasate. Previous recordings include a Mozart album with the Festival Strings Lucerne, a CD with sonatas by Richard Strauss and Franck with pianist Robert Kulek, and an album of violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Charles Dutoit. For her recordings, she has been awarded the ECHO Klassik award twice. As CARE ambassador, Ms. Steinbacher toured through Japan following the 2011 tsunami catastrophe. The DVD Arabella Steinbacher—Music of Hope was later released by the Nightberry label.

Ms. Steinbacher currently plays the 1716 "Booth" Stradivarius violin, generously provided by the Nippon Music Foundation. She lives in her hometown of Munich. For more information, visit

(March 2017)