Violinist Anna Agafia Awarded Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad Festival Prize

A previous prizewinner at the Tibor Varga and Stuttgart International Violin Competitions, Anna has been given the Thierry Scherz Prize at this year's festival

(Photo credit: Caroline Doutre)


Taking place in the picturesque Swiss villages of Gstaad, Saanen, and Rougemont, the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad Festival is lead by Artistic Director Renaud Capuçon.

Awarded annually to an outstanding young international instrumentalist the festival's Thierry Scherz Prize will grant Anna Agafia the opportunity to record a solo album with a professional orchestra under the Swiss label, Claves Records.

Currently serving as Artist in Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, Anna was awarded first prize at the 2019 Tibor Varga International Violin Competition in Sion, Switzerland, and third prize at the 2021 Stuttgart International Violin Competition, in Stuttgart, Germany.

A graduate of the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne where she studied with Svetlana Makarova, she is also a former major prize winner at the Ginette Neveu, Marie Cantagrill, Ysaÿe, and Carl Nielsen International Violin Competitions.

The Violin Channel had a chance to catch up with Anna upon hearing of the most recent accomplishment.

She shared that the festival was postponed by a year due to the pandemic and lived up to her expectations. "It is one of the festivals you can't help but hear about regularly when you live in Switzerland — which I had been for a couple of years — as it attracts some of the biggest names on the musical stage (this year included performances by, amongst others, Gidon Kremer and Maria João Pires)," she said.

When asked how she felt about winning the Thierry Scherz Prize, Anna shared, "While in Gstaad, I tried to focus solely on the recital and the lesson with former Ysaÿe Quartet violinist Guillaume Sutre, the morning of each of our respective recitals. I hadn't really considered the possibility of winning anything — I just felt extremely happy to share some beautiful musical moments with a hall full of warm and enthusiastic people, and receive new insight from Mr. Sutre on the pieces I performed. Since they announced the results at the end of the festival, I've been in somewhat of a haze, unable to actually grasp what has happened, and I will probably continue feeling this way until I arrive at my first recording session!"

While details of her new record with Claves Records are yet to be disclosed, Anna has already chosen two concertos she wishes to play. "I was contacted by the CEO of Claves Records almost immediately after the end of the festival," she said. "I was astounded by the speed of the organization process, as I had to make decisions regarding, among other things, the recording repertoire, before it had even sunk in that I was going to record anything."

"Patrick Peikert, the CEO of Claves, who was also in the jury of the festival competition, has already proved to be extremely helpful regarding said unexpected decision making, and I feel confident putting my trust in his recording experience," she added. "He and I remain in close contact with Renaud Capuçon as well, in order to put together what will hopefully become a unique and captivating album, expected to come out in time for next year's Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad."