Rachel Kolly d'Alba can recall being eager to learn to play the violin from her earliest days, when her parents regularly brought her along to hear concerts by the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra.
She remembers, "I loved the solo sound, the sound of the violin emerging from the orchestra." Kolly d'Alba now can be heard as soloist with many well-known orchestras and conductors and in recital with pianist Christian Chamorel.
Kolly d'Alba began lessons at the age of five and gave her first concerto performance at 12. She was enrolled in regular school and at Lausanne's conservatory simultaneously. There, she earned diplomas for violin performance, chamber music, and violin teaching at just 15. She went on to study in Bern with Igor Ozim and others, not just performance, but also composition, analysis, and contemporary music. She applied some of what she learned to her orchestration of Ysaÿe’s Rêve d’enfant, Op. 14, included on her French Impressions album.
Her playing is described as very vibrant, expressive, and communicative even in new works that some listeners might find complex. Kolly d'Alba values being able to work with living composers and pushing herself as a musician. She won the prize for Best Interpretation of a Contemporary Work at the 2005 Julio Cardona International String Competition, as well as first prize for violin. She has also won every major Swiss award for music.
Kolly d'Alba's first recording for Warner Classics as Passion Ysaÿe (2010). It was not the typical debut album of a popular violin concerto, but six virtuosic solo sonatas, and it was highly praised by critics and the composer's grandson. French Impressions featured concerted works conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow and John Axelrod. Her third release, also with Axelrod, was 2013's American Serenade with music Gershwin, Bernstein, and Waxman.
Ysaÿe : Violin Sonata No.4 Op.27 : II Sarabande
Ysaÿe : Violin Sonata No.5 Op.27 : I L'Aurore
Sonata in A Major for violin and piano, FWV 8: II. allegro
Gershwin / Arr Courage : Fantasy on Porgy & Bess : IV Summertime
Sonata in A Major for violin and piano, FWV 8: I. allegretto ben moderato