Tunisian and British violinist composer and vocalist Yasmine Azaiez began the violin at age 4 and by age 8 gained a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London, UK. She studied with Maceij Rakowki, Simon Fischer and benefited from playing with musicians such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andras Schiff and Julian Lloyd Webber. At age 17 Yasmine won second place at the Sevenoaks “Young Musician of the Year” violin competition, where she was described as having “immense talent”, an “excellent and exciting professional approach,” and a “uniquely amazing stage presence full of charm” by a jury comprised of Royal College of Music professors. A year later Yasmine moved to Boston to study Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory where she studied with Anthony Coleman, Joe Morris, Hankus Netsky and Dominique Eade among others. At the New England Conservatory she was inspired to improvise using classical and avant garde techniques on the violin, develop and began composing for large ensembles and electronics. While in school, NEC professor and celebrated avant-garde guitarist Joe Morris wrote in an article, “She is a classical virtuoso and the greatest free improvising violinist I have ever heard.”
As a classical musician, Yasmine has performed at numerous prestigious venues, including the Royal Albert Hall under the baton of Mistlav Rostropovich with the participation of Evgeny Kissin, The Merchant Taylors Hall in London with violinist Sarah Chang, and the Sheldonian Theatre with Andras Schiff. As a soloist, she has played with orchestras around the world such as the Westminster Philharmonic, the Lebanese symphony Orchestra, and the ‘ Balle de Vienne’ Orchestra. In June 2010 she was chosen amongst 9 world finalists at the Global Youth Violin Competition in Sydney Australia, representing Africa and the Middle East.
As an improviser, Yasmine has played with musicians such as the Iraqi lutist Naseer Shamma at the Cairo Opera house, guitarist and professor Joe Morris at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and Quai de Branly in Paris, Kinan Azmeh at the Royal Opera house in Muscat, Ramy Ayach, Agusti Fernandez, Rami Khalifa and Anthony Coleman. She frequently plays with World Champion accordionist Cory Pesaturo in the United States and Europe.
Yasmine Azaiez currently tours with her own group ‘Yasmine Azaiez.’ All the music is either recomposed or composed by her and the music is has jazz and middle eastern influences. Her debut CD will be released in February 2016
Beyond her primary music interests, Yasmine not only acted as one of the main roles in the Tunisian Movie, ‘Histoires Tunisiennes,’ but also composed the score for it, which was shown at festivals around the world including the Cannes film festival in 2012. She was chosen to perform one of her pieces in a masterclass to Elvis Costello at the New England Conservatory in 2013.
Yasmine has played many benefit concerts in New York and Tunisia to raise money for impoverished villages in her country, and hopes to create her own charity that raises money through music. She has participated in many Ted Talks in Tunisia which was focused on inspiring women in the Arab world.
As an educator, Yasmine aspires to develop improvisation programs in schools and universities for classical musicians. She has already given masterclasses to students of the Royal Opera House of Oman, the Institute of Music in Tunisia, and at MIT in Massachusetts.
At her young age, Yasmine Azaiez has recently created the ‘Yasmine Azaiez Academy’ in Tunisia, where she has selected a group of talented students to enrich their technique and musical interpretations, inspired by her studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the New England Conservatory. This project is extremely important in helping to inspire the young musicians to have ambition to become soloists and orchestra players not only in Tunisia, but overseas. Yasmine also hopes to prepare them to participate in her future concerts, to represent the changes that can be made in music departments in Tunisia without a large budget.