Known for his dedication to the violin and classical music in all its forms, Karl Stobbe is acclaimed as one of Canada’s most diverse and accomplished violinists. As a concertmaster, soloist, and chamber musician, Karl has been an audience favourite in small settings and large venues in Canada, United States, and Europe. His diverse career has included performances of all six Ysaÿe Sonatas for Solo Violin, all 16 Beethoven String Quartets, and all 10 Mahler Symphonies. Karl is just as comfortable directing an orchestra without conductor as he is giving an unaccompanied recital. Noted for his generous, rich sound and long, poignant phrasing, he is described by the San Francisco Classical Voice as “an artist with soulful musicianship,” and by London’s Sunday Times as “a master soloist, recalling the golden age of violin playing… producing a breathtaking range of tone colours”.
Karl has performed in many of North America’s most famous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, the National Arts Centre, Roy Thompson Hall, Segerstrom Hall, and the Orpheum Theatre.
As a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestra director, he has shared the stage with many of the most distinguished and eclectic violinists of our day, from James Ehnes to Mark O’Connor. His recording of Ysaÿe’s Solo Violin Sonatas received worldwide attention, including Gramophone magazine, which hailed it as “full of spirit and energy… exciting, fearless…” It was nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award for best Classical Album : Solo or Chamber Ensemble, and won the 2015 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Album of the Year. Karl’s live recording with Jonathan Crow and the National Arts Centre Orchestra featured on Jocelyn Morlock’s CD Cobalt also won a Western Canadian Music Award that year. Karl frequently performs and records new music, and has been involved in numerous commissions and world premieres.
A dedicated teacher, Karl gives regular master classes at music schools and universities across Canada. Many of his students have gone on to fine professional careers as soloists, chamber musicians, and orchestral colleagues. A lover of all things violin, he completed a minor in Violin Repair and Construction as part of his Master’s of Music performance degree from Indiana University. His passion for the construction and mechanics of the violin is an important part of his professional musical life and continues to influence his performances and teaching. He has given multiple presentations on the history of the violin family, violin building and repair, and organized showings and lecture recitals on rare, fine instruments at various concert halls, art galleries, universities, and conservatories.