Viktoria Yurievna Mullova (Russian: Виктория Юрьевна Муллова; born 27 November 1959) is a Russian violinist. She is best known for her performances and recordings of a number of violin concerti, compositions by J.S. Bach, and her innovative interpretations of popular and jazz compositions by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, the Beatles, and others.
Mullova was born in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, in Soviet Russia. After studying at the Central Music School of Moscow and at the Moscow Conservatoire under Leonid Kogan, she won first prize at the 1980 International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki and the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982. During a tour of Finland in 1983, Mullova and her lover, Vakhtang Jordania, who posed as her accompanist so they could defect together, left the hotel in Kuusamo, after Jordania told the KGB officer who was watching them that Mullova was too sick from drinking to attend the afterparty. The Stradivari violin owned by the Soviet Union was left behind on the hotel bed. A Finnish Broadcasting Company journalist, accompanied by a photographer, drove them in a rented car across the border to Luleå, Sweden, and they travelled further to Stockholm. In Sweden, they applied for political asylum. At that time, the Swedish police treated the young, on-the-run musicians just like any other political defectors from the Eastern Bloc: they suggested that the couple stay in a hotel over the weekend until the American embassy opened. So for two days they sat under false names in a hotel room, not even daring to go down to the reception desk--wisely, as it turned out, because their photographs were on the front page of every newspaper. Two days later they were in Washington, D.C. with American visas in their pockets.
Mullova has made many recordings including her debut release of the Tchaikovsky and Jean Sibelius violin concertos which was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque.
She formed the Mullova Chamber Ensemble in the mid-1990s. The ensemble has toured Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands and has recorded the Bach violin concertos on Philips Classics. She was nominated for a 1995 Grammy Award for her recording of the Bach Partitas, and she won a 1995 Echo Klassik award, a Japanese Record Academy Award and a Deutsche Schallplattenkritik prize for her recording of the Brahms violin concerto. Her recording of the Brahms B major Trio (no. 1) and Beethoven's Archduke Trio with André Previn and Heinrich Schiff was released in 1995, receiving a further Diapason d'Or.
Mullova's international career as a soloist has included performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed as soloist and director with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Mullova plays the Jules Falk Stradivarius from 1723 and a violin made in 1750 by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini. Her bows include a Baroque style bow by a modern maker, a Dodd and a Voirin.
Mullova currently lives in Holland Park, London, England, with her husband, cellist Matthew Barley, and three children: Misha, from her relationship with conductor Claudio Abbado, Katia, from her relationship with violinist Alan Brind, and Nadia, from her marriage to Barley.
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