Iskandar’s delivery was nothing short of spectacular, and was greeted initially with stunned silence from his awe-struck audience. Few, I doubt, will have witnessed a classical musician of his standard, and this was something very special. His touch was almost passionate, bow movement fluid, fingering precise and his tone subtle yet stirring.
The Jakarta Post, August 2012
Iskandar Widjaja […] emerges as a true force of nature. […] Without in any way losing the structural focus and grip […] he plays with a Grappelli-like fantasy and freedom, that is deeply beguiling. […] There is no doubting the hypnotic intensity of the results, nor Widjaja’s engrossing imperativeness
The Strad, December 2011
Iskandar Widjaja is considered one of the most interesting violinists of the younger generation. The “complexity of his style, his musical imagination with the most varied sonic nuances and facets, as well as his flawless technique and great charisma” [Maestro C. Eschenbach] are praised by colleagues and the media alike. His extremely wide-ranging repertoire is especially focussed on the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
In his second homeland of Indonesia, he is perceived like a “pop” phenomenon; his medial presence already resulted there in a “trending topic” status (most frequently named term) on twitter©. Highlights of the current season are his debuts with some of Germanys top Orchestras: the Konzerthausorchestra Berlin, the Deutsche Symphonieorchester Berlin and recordings for a new album with works by Robert Schumann in collaboration with Maestro Christoph Eschenbach as a pianist and conductor. Reviews of his recent tour with the Tchaikovsky concerto rave about his "hypnotic intensity and beguiling silky sound...he can create colours which are rarely heard. Iskandar Widjaja-a name to watch." Last season saw his debut with the Munich Philharmonic under Christoph Eschenbach at the festival Kissingen Summer and the Munich Gasteig, his debut under Zubin Mehta with the Orchestra Maggio Musicale Firenze at the Tonhalle in Zurich , as well as solo recitals at the Munich Gasteig and the Rheingau Music Festival. Iskandar is the LOTTO promotional prize winner 2013 of the Rheingau Music Festival, a prize awarded annually to a young soloist of the "next generation"scheme. The jury’s explanation was as follows:
“Amongst the many young talents from all over the world, Iskandar Widjaja convinced us with his technical perfection and absolute authenticity. His playing is of an artistic imagination and freedom that can only be rarely experienced; it sweeps the listener away emotionally. His especially unforced and refreshing interpretations unavoidably lead to a special sonic experience on the part of the listener. Iskandar Widjaja plays directly into the hearts of his audience with his honest, sympathetic radiance.”
In addition, he won the gold medal at the 1st International Hindemith Violin Competition, the First Federal Prize at “Jugend Musiziert” (YouthMaking Music) a number of times, “Best Bach”and “Best Beethoven Sonata” at the 21st Concorso Violinistico Internazionale Andrea Postacchini, the “Julius Junior” in the category “Young Talent” awarded under the patronage of the Mayor of Berlin to outstanding personalities in municipal life, as well as stipends of the “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben” (German Foundation for Musical Life)
In 2013 he was accepted into the soloist advancement programme “Orpheum Foundation” by recommendation of Zubin Mehta and Christoph Eschenbach.
Iskandar’s activities as a soloist have taken him to five continents. Engagements lead to performances with ensembles such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Munich Philharmonic, the Konzerthausorchestra Berlin , the Deutsche Symphonieorchester Berlin, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt , the Berliner Camerata ,Collegium Musicum Basel, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Jakarta Philharmonic Orchestra and others , at venues like the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Philharmonie Essen, Konzerthalle Bamberg,Casino Basel, Aula Simfonia Jakarta ,Hong Kong City Hall , Guangzhou Opera House or the Tel Aviv Opera House .
He has concertized repeatedly at such renowned festivals as the “Kissinger Summer” (DE), "Movimentos"(DE), "Moritzbug"(DE), "Dresdener Musikfestspiele"(DE), “Valdres Sommersymfoni”(NO), “Festival de St. Prex”(CH), "LUNA Classics"(CH), ”Styriarte”(AT), “Music Festival Phnom Penh”(KH), Interlochen Arts Festival”(US) and “Keshet Eilon”(IL) and was invited to tour South-East Asia by the Goethe Institute.
Iskandar opened the APEC Summit (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in 2013. Among the invited guests of the opening ceremony were President Obama, President Yudhoyono and other asian leaders. At the opening of the ITB 2013(international tourism fair) with Chancellor Merkel and President Yudhoyono ,he was invited to musically represent the official partner country Indonesia.
David Foster invited Iskandar to perform with him in Jakarta in 2012.
In September 2014 Iskandar opened the Davis Cup in Geneva with a performance of his single "Burn" to a live audience of 18.500 in the Palexpo Hall Geneva. The performances was broadcasted live in 101 territories by 29 broadcasters.
Furthermore, Iskandar Widjaja is musically committed to charitable organisations such as the WWF and Live Music Now e.V. His exclusive charity concert in Bali for the UNICEF supported educational opportunities for children in the Asia-Pacific region.
His charity event "Musik yang Membebaskan" in collaboration with KOMPAS Gramedia, indonesias premier newspaper, sponsored musical instruments and instructions for streetchildren.
Iskandar Widjaja received valuable artistic impulses from Dora Schwarzberg, Christian Tetzlaff, Shlomo Mintz, Midori and Ida Haendel. He has also conducted master classes at the colleges and festivals of Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Valdres/Norway.
Born in Berlin, Iskandar began playing violin at the age of four, at first with the Suzuki method under Susan Mann. At eleven, he was accepted as an extraordinary student at the College of Music in Berlin, where he studied with Ursula Scholz and Joachim Hantzschk. Furthermore he studied at the Julius Stern Institute Berlin– the pre-college division for the highly musically gifted. After completing secondary school, he studied violin at the University of the Arts in Berlin with Prof. Uwe-Martin Haiberg and Prof. Ilan Gronich, which he completed in 2010.
His Debut CD “Bach ‘n’ Blues” was released worldwide by OehmsClassics in 2011 to great critical acclaim by press and recommendation by bavarian-, hesse-, and northgerman broadcast.
His second album ,"precious refuge-works by J.S.Bach", recorded with the Berliner Camerata ,was released in April 2014 with notable reviews and recommendations by FonoForum,NDR, BR Klassik,Deutschlandradio Kultur,the Strad,pizzicato magazine and was named "CD of the month" by Rondo magazine.
Additionally ,Iskandar plays Tango with his Trio "CAYAO". Their debut album was released in October 2014.
Furthermore, Iskandar has been the face for Indonesias high end coffee brand „JJ Royal“ as a brand ambassador and TV commercial model for three years. He has been on the cover of indonesias „High End“ magazine, fashion-tv magazine, the Jakarta post, to name a few. Recently he collaborated closely with the VOLKSWAGEN group. Photoshoots for cosmopolitan, inStyle , mens folio or the Volkswagen Magazine round out his profile as a modern classical violinist.
He plays a Franciscus Geissenhof violin from 1793 and a Stradivarius from 1734, kindly on loan by Florian Leonhard.