The son of Portuguese immigrants, American violinist Elmar Oliveira was nine when he began studying the violin with his brother John, and he later continued his studies with Ariana Bronne and Raphael Bronstein at the Hartt College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. The only American violinist to win the gold medal at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Competition, he was the first violinist to receive the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, and he also won first prizes at the Naumburg and Dealey competitions.
He appears throughout the world and has premiered works by such composers as Charles Wuorinen, Joan Tower, Andrzej Panufnik, Benjamin Lees, Leonard Rosenman, Hugh Aitken, and Richard Yardumian, and has performed infrequently heard concertos by Alberto Ginastera, Einoujuhani Rautavaara, and Joseph Joachim. Among his many recordings is the Grammy-nominated performance of Barber’s Violin Concerto with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony. Of special significance are a CD featuring Oliveira performing on some of the world’s greatest violins (fifteen by Stradivari and fifteen by Guarneri “del Gesu”) and his recording of short pieces spotlighting rare violins from the Library of Congress collection.