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Daniela Shtéreva

Daniela Shtéreva, Violin
David* and Cecile Wang Chair

Daniela Shtéreva was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, into a family with a musical tradition that has been preserved for five generations. She received her fundamental training in the violin studios of Elena Doykova and Elena Koynova at “Dobrin Petkov” School of Music in Plovdiv. Consecutively, Daniela earned a bachelor’s degree from the National Conservatory of Music in Sofia, a Master of Music degree from Louisiana State University and an Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University. Her teachers were pupils of esteemed violinists Leonid Kogan, Yfrah Neaman, David Oistrakh and Joseph Gingold.

Daniela is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, including the Henryk Szeryng Violin Competition and the Vladigerov International Competition. She has first prizes from the Washington International Competition for Strings and the NSAL-Lynn Second National Violin Competition, and she is a semifinalist of the Sarasate, Michael Hill, Indianapolis and Jean Sibelius international violin competitions. She has appeared as a soloist at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and with the San Bernardino Symphony in California. Reviews of her performances were published in The Strad magazine and The Washington Post. Her CD releases include five discs with Music Minus One and two released independently: The Beauty of a Violin and Piano and Angels’ Dreams. A CD in collaboration with pianist Dr. Alexandra Carlson was released in 2019 and was recorded in historic Mechanics Hall with Grammy Award-winning engineers from Five/Four Productions, Ltd. 

As an orchestral musician, Daniela has toured throughout Europe since the age of 14, trained at the Tanglewood festival in the U.S. and served at the Britt and Des Moines music festivals. She has performed part-time with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and as a festival fellow with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Daniela has also served as a concertmaster with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra and Tulsa Opera and as assistant concertmaster with Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Erie Philharmonic.

Daniela’s chamber music appearances include the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival in 2007 and scholarship training at the Starling String Quartet of Carnegie Mellon University. Each season, she looks forward to performing with her colleagues in the chamber series with the Naples Philharmonic as well as in local concert series. Also passionate about teaching, she participates in the youth program of the Naples Philharmonic and she maintains a private violin studio for beginners and advanced students. During her studies in Pittsburgh, she also had the honor of working as assistant to her violin professor Cyrus Forough at Carnegie Mellon University.

Since 2008, Daniela has performed as a full-time member of the Naples Philharmonic. Her violin and a bow were purchased for her by private Naples area investors in 2018.


The facts:

I was born and raised in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. I studied in a music school from age 5 to 18 and received a bachelor’s degree from the National Academy of Music in Bulgaria. I got my master’s at LSU and my Artist Diploma in solo performance from Carnegie Mellon University. In 2008, after freezing in Pittsburgh for five years, I saw an announcement for three violin position openings in beachy Naples, Florida! I knew nothing about the orchestra, but I just took a shot at going somewhere warm. I was given a one-year position and, 10 years later, I’m still here! Just for the record, though, going to the beach really isn’t part of the contract!

What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?

The day an audience member had a health emergency during the premiere of a modern piece. We had to stop and leave the stage until management decided what to do in this unique situation. We had to start the concert all over again! And just when we got over that hurdle, another audience member was asked to move for inappropriate behavior (yelling inappropriate “praises” at the soloist). It was a surreal performance and, ironically, it was on April Fools’ day!

What inspired you to become a musician?

My family. Music has been a tradition for five generations on my father’s side.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Meeting new guest artists all the time and playing not only orchestral literature, but also chamber music. Collaborating with guest soloists as well sometimes!

What’s challenging about playing your instrument?

The violin? Do you have time for a 300-page answer? How about the fact that it is asymmetrical for a starter — that there are no keys to tell you where the notes are, and some of them are the size of a needle! And, although violin is performed while standing, after about 20 years of training, when you get an orchestral job, you have to learn to do it at a seated position without injuring yourself. Chiropractors probably make the majority of their income from adjusting the necks and spines of violinists!

What are your favorite compositions?

Many... I love the variety of periods and styles in classical music.

What have you been listening to recently?

Jazz. Outside of practicing and performing classical music — always jazz!

Are there other musicians in your immediate family?

Yes. My brother is a concertmaster. My father still plays violin in orchestra as well, now for over 45 years.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Exercise! Cook. Practice. Meet new people. I like to keep life busy, creative, interesting and exciting.



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