Praised by the Santa Barbara Daily Sound for his “moving” and “hypnotic” performances, violinist John Irrera is quickly becoming known as an accomplished solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. At the age of 23, John made his Carnegie Hall debut as 1st prizewinner of the American Protégé International Violin Competition and has also taken top prizes in numerous international and national competitions. John made his concerto debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto under the baton of Maestro Jeff Tyzik, and has also appeared as guest soloist with the Penfield Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
John’s performances can be heard in concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Spivey Hall, and Lincoln Center - as well as via broadcast by WXXI. Solo concert engagements have taken him to international music festivals including the Music Academy of the West, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Violin Academy at the Moulin d’Ande, France and the Niagara on the Lake International Music Festival.
As an advocate for new music, John premiered “Drawn Onward- Fantasy for Violin and Piano” written for the Irrera Brothers Duo, by composer Robert Morris in November of 2014. Additionally he is a founding member of the Virginia Sinfonietta, a professional chamber orchestra dedicated to the performance and creation of contemporary art music.
In 2012, John performed at the Society of Composers Conference held at Christopher Newport University, as well as gave the world premiere in April 2013 of Robot by acclaimed electronic music composer Christopher Cook. This performance lead to John’s invitation to perform at the Electronic Music Midwest Conference in Kansas City, Kansas in October of that same year.
As a chamber musician John has co-founded, with his brother Joseph, the Irrera Brothers Piano & Violin Duo. The duo has performed throughout North America, Latin America, nd Europe. In 2013, they made their third appearance at Carnegie Hall which was lauded as a “riveting and dynamic performance” by the New York Concert Review. Additionally, the duo has recently secured professional management with New York City management firm, Parker Artists Management. In 2012 the duo released their first album and also founded the Irrera Brothers Chamber Music Series in collaboration with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.
Past chamber music collaborations have involved members of the Dallas Symphony, the Ying Quartet, and the late Eastman Professor Zvi Zeitlin. In the fall of 2010, John performed an all Shostakovich chamber music program at Syracuse University’s Music of Conflict and Reconciliation Symposium. In the summer of 2008, John was the recipient of a full fellowship to the Music Academy of the West, where he worked with acclaimed chamber musicians Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, and the Takács String Quartet.
As an active orchestral musician, John has performed with the New World Symphony under conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Thomas Adès, with the Grammy-nominated Metropolis Ensemble under the baton of composer Tan Dun, and as guest concertmaster of the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven White. Additional collaborations have included appearances with Peter Oundjian, Larry Rachleff, and Daniel Hege at the Music Academy of the West. In 2012 John was named Concertmaster of the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. Currently he regularly performs with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.
John received his Bachelor’s degree with High Distinction from the Eastman School of Music in 2007, where he was awarded the Howard Hanson Scholarship, as well as the coveted Performer’s Certificate. He continued at Eastman where he completed his Master’s degree in 2009 as the recipient of the Christakis S. and Agnes C. Modinos Graduate Merit Scholarship, as well as his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2014. John’s long time teacher and mentor during all three of his Eastman degrees was the late Zvi Zeitlin and Federico Agostini. Additionally John has had supplementary studies with violinists Ilya Kaler, Lewis Kaplan, Sergiu Schwartz, Juliana Athayde, Lynn Blakeslee, and Almita Vamos.
Dedicated to performing and teaching, John has previously taught at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, after being selectively chosen as the Teaching Assistant for Professor Zeitlin, a position he continued to hold with Federico Agostini. Additionally, John has served as a guest teaching artist presenting performances, masterclasses, presentations, and lectures at Virginia Tech, Kennesaw State University, Clayton State University, Lee University, Bridgewater College and the Atlanta Music Project, as well as presenting at the 2015 MTNA National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former students have been accepted to continue their studies at major institutions, including The Eastman School of Music. Currently John resides in Blacksburg, VA, is on faculty at Ferrum College, and is on the artist roster of Parker Artists Management Group.