Levon Chilingirian was born in Cyprus to Armenian parents and was introduced to music from a very early age through his pianist mother and violinist great uncle. When the Chilingirian family immigrated to London in 1960, Levon concentrated on the violin, studying at the Royal College of Music where he is now a professor.
His long-standing partnership with Clifford Benson was launched by winning the first prize in the 1969 BBC Beethoven Competition, followed by the Munich Duo first prize in 1971. Recital appearances have taken the duo to most European countries and their recordings include works by Schubert and Frank Bridge.
From his student days, Levon Chilingirian was drawn to the wonderfully rich chamber music repertoire and, in 1971, he formed The Chilingirian Quartet with three other ex-RCM students. The Quartet has held residencies at Liverpool and Sussex Universities and is currently attached to the Royal College of Music.
They have become one of the most active and celebrated string quartets on the international scene with tours to fifty countries on six continents. They have been called “one of the great string quartets of our day” (Boston Globe) and their performances acclaimed as “world class from the first stroke” (Basler Zeitung). The Chilingirian Quartet has played in more than fifty major centres in North America as well as regular visits in Europe to all the capital cities and main festivals, resulting in a strong and devoted following.
They make regular appearances at London’s Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls and have given Beethoven Cycles in London, Sydney and Melbourne, a Schubert Cycle in Paris, and premieres of works by John Tavener and Hugh Wood. A wide-ranging recorded repertoire includes works by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Dvorak, Bartok, Prokofiev, Tavener, Part, Panufnik, Chausson, Debussy, Ravel, Grieg, and Gomidas/Aslamazian.
As a soloist, Chilingirian has performed the Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach concerti with great success. He has also played in the Tippett Triple Concerto with six different orchestras with a subsequent recording partnering the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Richard Hickox.
Recently he became the musical director of a very talented Swedish string ensemble, The Camerata Roman. Directing from the leader’s chair, Chilingirian is exploring a varied repertoire of string quartets suitable for slightly larger groups as well as unusual classical and contemporary string ensemble compositions.
Levon Chilingirian was invited to give the String Master Class for the BBC TV’s Young Musician of the Year and has appeared as soloist with the BBC Symphony, London Philharmonic, Bournemouth, Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber, and Russian National Orchestras.
He has received the Cobbett Medal, the Royal Philharmonic Society’s chamber music award and, in January 2000, an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List for his “services to music”. Levon Chilingirian led a Schubert Quintet performance at the final concert of the Millennium at the Wigmore Hall.