2013 Honorable Mention – 23rd Annual LA Music Awards
Julia Okrusko was born in 1983 in Vilnius, Lithuania. She started to play the violin at the age of five, and in 1992 she became a student of the National M.K.Curlionis Arts School in Vilnius with the violin teacher Beata-Marija Vasiliauskaite-Smidtiene.
In 1997, Julia was awarded the 3rd prize at the International W.A.Mozart Competition in Riga (Latvia) and the Diploma at the International B.Dvarionas Competition in Vilnius (Lithuania). In 1998, she was awarded the 1st Prize at the International Berlingske Tidende Competition in Copenhagen (Denmark). Julia was awarded the 1st prize at the National J.Fledzinskis Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1999. The same year she was invited to perform at the International Youth Festival „Kaunas’99“ (Lithuania). In 2000, Julia won the 1st prize at the National Chamber Music Competition „Pavasario Sonata“ (“Spring Sonata”) in Vilnius. She also was awarded a Laureate Diploma and the Special Prize for the best performance of the B.Dvarionas composition at the International B.Dvarionas Competition in Vilnius. In 2001, Julia participated in the International J.Heifetz Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania, where she was awarded the Special Prize. Subsequently, she was invited to take part in several concert tours of the Youth Chamber Orchestra KREMERata Baltica. In 2001, Julia also won the 1st prize at the International A.Glazounov Competition in Paris.
In 2002, Julia graduated from the School and started her studies at the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy with the violin professor Undine Jagelaite. While an undergraduate student at the Academy, Julia was awarded the Landsbergis Scholarship, and invited to perform with the State Symphony Orchestra. In 2003, Julia was featured at the International Holland Music Sessions festival. Julia has participated in masterclasses of A.Fischer (Sweden), D.Stulgyte (Germany), M.Gantvarg (Russia), M.Svegzda von Bekker (Lithuania), A.Resnikovsky (Russia), B.Garlitsky (France), Gyorgy Pauk (Romania), G.Turchaninova (Russia), and has performed in Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, USA as a soloist and member of chamber ensembles.
Julia Okrusko performing live with Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra
Julia has appeared as a soloist with Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra (USA), the State Symphony and Chamber Orchestras in Lithuania, and Chamber Orchestra in Latvia. In September 2005, Julia became a graduate violin performance student in the class of Dana Mazurkevich in Boston University College of Fine Arts, School of Music, where she received her Master’s Degree (2008), and Performance Diploma (2009). In Boston, Julia was awarded the Gran-Prix at the J.S.Bach Competition.
Julia Okrusko, New England String Quartet, Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall
As a founding member and first violinist of the New England String Quartet, Julia performs extensively in Boston and the New England area. Having made their debut at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, the ensemble is featured in concert series across New England including 3rd Sundays @ 3, Menotomy, Bach’s Lunch, Parma Music Festival, and the Chromatic Club of Boston. The quartet’s discography includes “Quadrants: Modern String Quartets” (2012, Navona Records), “Perceptions: Points of View for Small Ensemble” (2013, Navona Records), “Allusions” (2013, Navona Records), “Unbridled – Chamber Works by Sergio Cervetti” (2014, Navona Records), “Sarah Wallin Huff: Soul of the Machine” (2014, Navona Records), “Scott Pender: 88+12″ (2014, Navona Records), “Darkness to Light – The Music of Jeffrey Jacob” (2014, Navona Records). In 2012 NESQ became the ensemble-in-residence at Harvard University’s Dudley House and actively participates in community outreach and music education programs presenting performances, chamber music coaching, and lectures. Members of the quartet conduct extensive research on chamber music pedagogy, performance, and compositional styles, and curate the public access television program Intermezzo featuring chamber music performances, interviews with artists and composers, and educational presentations.
Julia Okrusko, violinist and composer
Julia actively collaborates with film and visual media producers. In 2014, NESQ recorded soundtracks for Lord of The Rings and Dungeons & Dragons online video games (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment). Julia has been composing original music since 2011, and her solo album “Legends: Fantasy Violin” received nominations from Hollywood Music in Media Awards in Best Classical, Best Instrumental/Orchestral, and Best New Age categories. Combining live and synthetic instruments in the production process, Julia has written for symphony orchestra and choir, and created soundtracks and arrangements for film, advertising, concert and ballet performances. Her music was featured at FantasyCon in Salt Lake City, Utah, and performed live by Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and New World Chorale.