Canadian violinist Yolanda Bruno has been praised for her “total control of her instrument with infinite variety in the sound palette” (La Presse) and was recently named on CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30.
Yolanda has performed across North America and Europe including solos with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain, the Orchestra of the Americas and the London Mozart Players. She has appeared in festivals including the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Summer Music Festival, the BBC Proms and the International Musicians’ Seminar Prussia Cove. Yolanda’s performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, ICI Musique as well as on BBC Radio 3. A devoted chamber musician, Yolanda has collaborated with Pinchas Zukerman, Menahem Pressler, Paul Lewis and Levon Chilingirian.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including the 2017 Isabel Overton Bader Violin Competition, and was the grand prize winner at the OSM Standard Life Competition in 2013. Yolanda is a three-time recipient of the Sylva Gelber Career Development Award and is also the recipient of Canada Council’s Virginia Parker Award, a distinction shared with her fellow Canadian musicians Yannick Nézet-Séguin, James Ehnes and Marc-André Hamelin. A laureate of the 2015 Canada Council of the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition, Yolanda was generously loaned the 1700 Taft Stradivari violin.
Yolanda is passionate about her role in engaging music in the community in Canada and abroad. She has performed and presented workshops in schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals, penitentiaries, airports, and public spaces. Yolanda has worked with young people through the Multi-Story Orchestra’s school concerts in South London, with the East London Youth Orchestra, and with the Orchestra of the Americas. She also performs virtually for older adults through Health Arts Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Peel, and the YMCA’s Brightspot as part of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s community partnerships.
In addition to Yolanda’s performance career, she has worked as a broadcast contributor on CBC Radio 2’s In Concert program; her Hot Ticket episodes explored musical performances of interest happening in Canada and sharing why radio audiences should attend. She has also worked as guest emcee for concert events and competitions, and in 2020 was the host on CBC’s This Is My Music program.
Yolanda launched The Wild Swans album with longtime duo-partner, pianist Isabelle David, in 2019. The disc features music steeped in story-telling written by eleven women composers, and includes premiere recordings by Alexina Louie and a new commission from Kelly-Marie Murphy by Yolanda and cellist Carmen Bruno. The project was funded by over 140 contributors through a Kickstarter campaign.
In 2021, Yolanda created Music for Your Blues; the performance series offers free, one-on-one musical performances over Zoom with the goal of improving mental health and providing connectedness during this time of fluctuating lockdown restrictions. The sessions include a live performance with supporting material touching on philosophical, literary, and scientific topics as well as casual conversation.
Yolanda is bilingual and comes from a family of Dutch, Italian, and Argentinian heritage. Her mother is a violin teacher and sister, Carmen Bruno, is a cellist. Raised in Ottawa, Yolanda completed studies with Jonathan Crow at McGill University, with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, UK and later with Julia Wedman on Baroque violin in Toronto.
A member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Yolanda previously served as concertmaster of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. She performs on a 1737 Domenico Montagnana violin on generous loan from Groupe Canimex Inc. in Drummondville, Quebec.