German violinist Ingolf Turban is best known for his spirited interpretations of the works of Paganini. He's recorded all six violin concertos and other Paganini works to great acclaim, but his association with the composer extends into other, somewhat unexpected areas: Turban named the chamber orchestra he founded I Virtuosi di Paganini in Paganini's memory and appeared in a television documentary in Germany, Paganini's Secret, in which he played the composer. Despite his devotion to Paganini, Turban commands a huge repertory of works by Mozart, Schumann, Joachim Raff, Ysaÿe, Wieniawski, Bruch, Reinecke, Respighi, Kreisler, and lesser knowns like Joseph Achron and Camillo Sivori. He has concertized throughout Europe and the U.S., and has made over 30 recordings, most of them available from Telos, Hänssler Classic, and Claves.
Ingolf Turban was born in Munich, Germany, on March 17, 1964. His mother was a pianist. From age 12 he studied with Gerhard Hetzel, and later teachers included Jens Ellermann and Dorothy DeLay. He earned a degree at the Munich College of Music. In 1985 Turban was appointed concertmaster with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under Celibidache. He gave his solo debut with the MPO in 1986. Turban departed his concertmaster post in 1988 to launch a solo career.
He had immediate success, touring throughout Germany and parts of Europe. 1991 was a watershed year: he debuted at La Scala, and then made his U.S. debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition, Turban's acclaimed recording of Tartini's five sonatas for violin and basso continuo was issued that year by Claves. From 1995, Turban served as professor of violin at Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts. Turban began recording his acclaimed set of the Paganini concertos in March 2000, with the first releases appearing the following year on Telos.
In 2005 Turban founded I Virtuosi di Paganini, a chamber-sized string ensemble devoted to the works of Paganini and other composers of his era. The following year Turban left his Stuttgart post and accepted a professorship at the Munich University of Music and Theater. In 2006 Turban appeared in, and was musical consultant for, the film Paganini's Secret, which aired on the German ARD television network in 2007. That same year, Turban, along with guitarist Adriano Sebastiani, premiered six then-recently discovered works by Paganini for guitar and violin, the Sei Cantabile e Valtz. Among Turban's more acclaimed recordings is his 2011 CD of three sonatas by Schumann and works by Ferdinand David, on Telos.