Born to Trinidadian and Nigerian parents, violinist/violist Yemi Gonzales received Masters of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York. During her studies there, she was awarded a full scholarship to study with Masao Kawasaki and Ronald Copes. She has performed in masterclasses with Pinchas Zukerman, Ida Haendel, Cho-Liang Lin, Vadim Gluzman, Boris Belkin, Silvia Marcovici and Ida Kavafian.
Yemi began studying violin at the age of four. At ten, she began to work with Robert Rozek, former concertmaster of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. At twelve she was traveling with her professor to music festivals in Europe where she played recitals and chamber music with other students from around the word. At age sixteen, she made her solo debut with a chamber orchestra in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
Yemi has studied at The Juilliard School, The Accademia Chigiana in Siena and at Manhattan School of Music. She performed at the Aspen Music Festival as part of their Starling Recitals Series and at the WMP Concert Series “Strad for Lunch” in New York. In 2005, she began her studies at with Patinka Kopec at Manhattan School of Music where she earned her Bachelors degree in the spring of 2009.
As a violist, Yemi has participated in masterclasses with Pinchas Zukerman, Michael Tree, Richard Danielpour and Robert Mann. She has performed in the Claremont Ensemble Series and also at Pinchas Zukerman’s “Young Artist Program” Ottawa.
Yemi has served as assistant principal of the Aspen Sinfonia Orchestra and has performed in orchestras in throughout the US and Europe under the baton of many esteemed conductors such as Kurt Masur, Alan Gilbert, Leonard Slatkin, and David Zinman. She has given recitals in Miami, New York, Switzerland and Italy. As a member of the Juilliard Orchestra, she has performed numerous times in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. As a semifinalist of the Sphinx Competition, Ms. Gonzales received a full scholarship to study at the Aspen Music Festival in 2003, 2005, and 2006. Other summer festivals include Keshet Eilon (Israel) and the Aurora Festival (Sweden). She won an award for “Most Distinguished Musician” at the 2008 IBLA Grand Prize in Italy and “Best Interpretation” for her rendition of William Grant Still’s “Suite for Violin and Piano”
Yemi is currently based in Berlin, Germany where she has studied with Stefan Picard. She has performed with orchestras like Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper, in various other theater orchestras, jazz and pop ensembles.