Julia Sakharova, violinist of the Arianna String Quartet, is an internationally established concert artist, known for her performances as soloist, orchestra performer, and chamber musician. She has been described by critics as projecting "incredible temperament, very fine sensitivity, and remarkable colors" (Strad) and hailed for her "technically thrilling" and "powerful musical personality" (Santa Barbara news press). Prior to joining the Arianna String Quartet, she served as Assistant Concertmaster with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, was a member of the Albany Symphony in New York, and served on the string faculty at the Newark School of Arts in New Jersey.
In 1999, after graduating from Moscow’s prestigious Central Special Music School under the renowned Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Ms. Sakharova moved to the U.S. where she continued her studies with Almita Vamos and Milan Vitek at Oberlin College, Donald Weilerstein at the Juilliard School, and later Glenn Dicterow at the Manhattan School. While at Juilliard, she made her New York City orchestral debut under the baton of Maestro Mark Stringer and the Juilliard Orchestra, as well as her chamber music debut at New York’s Alice Tully Hall. She won first prize at the International Competition for the Music of Eastern & Central Europe, first prize at the Olga Koussevitzky Competition for Strings, a top prize at the Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition, and the first prize of the 2001 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition.
Ms. Sakharova was featured on Rachmaninoff's Elegiaque Piano Trios (Tavros Records) and on the 2014 release of Sean Hickey’s Cursive – Piano and Chamber Works (Delos). Mr. Hickey dedicated Ampersand, a work for violin and piano, to Ms. Sakharova, which she debuted at a 2006 Steinway Hall recital. Ms. Sakharova's film score credits include Mimzy, The Perfect Stranger, and The Brave One.
Live radio broadcasts include WFMT of Chicago, KWMU St. Louis, WCLV of Cleveland, and WQXR of New York.
Ms. Sakharova currently serves on the violin faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. As a dedicated educator, she has conducted master classes at the University of Iowa School of Music, Alabama School of Fine Arts, and Birmingham Southwestern College. She has also taught and appeared on stage at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Music Mountain Chamber Series, Madeline Island Music Camp, and the Femusc Festival in Brazil. Her residencies include the Peabody Conservatory, Oberlin College, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Louisiana State University, Nicholls, and Bradley Universities. At the 2014 American String Teacher Association National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, Ms.Sakharova, along with the Arianna String Quartet and her husband cellist Clay McKinney, presented on the topic "Build a better phrase, build a better ensemble. Mapping the bow to achieve destination." At the 2016 Missouri Music Educators Conference Julia, along with her colleague from the ASQ Kurt Baldwin, gave a presentation entitled "Foundation to Form: Technical Toolbox for Violin and Cello."
The Arianna String Quartet is Ensemble-in-Residence at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis, where they present their own concert series. Ms. Sakharova plays an 1819 Rafaelle and Antonio Gagliano.