Jennifer Stumm

Photo of Jennifer Stumm

Jennifer Stumm

Professor at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna

Violist, director, and speaker Jennifer Stumm blazes a courageous creative path with diverse projects that mix sheer musical enthusiasm with boundary-breaking advocacy for social innovation. Known for the opal-like beauty” (Washington Post) of her sound, Jennifer appears on the worlds great stages both as solo violist and as artistic director of Ilumina. She is winner of the William Primrose, Geneva and Concert Artist Guild competitions (the first violist ever to win first prize.) The 2023-24 season brings Jennifer s return as soloist in the large hall of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, a week-long residency at the Edinburgh Festival, the release of two albums, and appearances on four continents. She will also appear as featured speaker on innovation and social equity at NASA and conferences around the world.

Jennifer is founder and director of Ilumina, the São Paulo-based artist collective, festival, and social equity initiative, which has ascended rapidly to prominence as a modern model for 21st century creativity and the advancement of diverse talent. Ilumina unites leading international artist with the best rising talent from Latin America, with the goal that worthy talent receives an equal chance to shine. Ilumina young artists now study at leading music schools around the world. Jennifer’s flair for curation and stage direction has received much attention, and Ilumina concerts invite listeners to be immersed in dynamic musical worlds, steadfastly committed to interpretation, powered by the freshness and energy of cultural exchange.

An enthusiastic speaker and writer, she recently spoke at NASA about how the arts can help innovate toward a better world, and her viral TEDx talk about the viola and the blessings of being different, The Imperfect Instrument,” was named an editors pick of all TED talks and led to a solo debut at the Berlin Philharmonie. Jennifer has released two celebrated solo albums. Her debut recording for Naxos Laureate Series featured works by Italian composer/violist Alessandro Rolla, hailed as “an absolutely phenomenal display of virtuoso viola playing” (The New Recordings.) She next released her album of Berlioz’s Harold In Italy and performed the work in her unique staging and characterization almost fifty times.

A recipient of the prestigious BBC New Generation artist and Borletti Buitoni Trust awards for her work in chamber music, she appears at major festivals such as Verbier, Marlboro, Stavanger, Spoleto, Aldeburgh, Delft and IMS Prussia Cove and regularly appears with Spectrum Concerts Berlin. Jennifer Stumm is Professor of Viola at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna. She was International Chair of Viola Studies at the Royal College of Music, London, guest professor at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague and at the Hochschule für Musik Leipzig. She gives masterclasses around the world. Born in Atlanta, Jennifer first heard the viola when she was eight and, enchanted by its sound, began playing in her school’s orchestra. She studied with Karen Tuttle at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, and later with Nobuko Imai and Steven Isserlis

. She also pursued interests in politics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jennifer plays a Gasparo da Salò viola, 1589, generously on loan from a private trust.

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