Widely acclaimed for the rare beauty of her sound and her enchanting presence on stage, Irina Kulikova has established herself as one of today’s leading guitarists. She tours far afield, with appearances at major festivals in Europe, North America and Asia and in concert halls such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Palau de la Musica in Valencia, the Musashino Hall in Tokyo and the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai.
Irina Kulikova started playing guitar and piano at five. The daughter of a cellist and distinguished pedagogue, she was educated in the Russian tradition of classical music. At eight she gave her first public performances. By the time she was twelve, she was a child star playing all across Russia and at festivals in Europe. At seventeen, Irina Kulikova moved to Moscow to continue her studies at the Gnessins Academy. Later she graduated with distinction at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg and the Conservatoire of Maastricht in The Netherlands.
Performing with outstanding violinists, cellists and pianists, she developed her passion for chamber music. She joined the ‘Salzburger Solisten’ and ensemble-chef Luz Leskowitz with his Stradivarius for numerous concerts in Austria and Germany: “Wherever she performs, she plays herself into the hearts of her audience.” She played for various members of the royal and aristocratic families of Germany and Denmark.
Irina Kulikova received over 30 awards for her artistry, including 1st prizes at the highly prestigious competitions of Michele Pittaluga in Italy, Guitarra Alhambra in Spain, Forum Gitarre Wien in Austria and Iserlohn in Germany. She recorded six albums, five of which in cooperation with Grammy-Award winning producer Norbert Kraft. "Some of the most sheerly beautiful playing I have ever heard”, Soundboard Magazine reviewed.
The beauty of Ms Kulikova's playing has become iconic for guitarists around the world. She is a much appreciated mentor for conservatorium students and fellow professionals and shares her profound understanding of music in master classes brimming with imagery and humour. She is founder and director of the online ClassicalGuitar.Academy and of the The Hague – Altamira Guitar Competition. Her personal motto, in life and music: It’s about the touch.
Irina Kulikova plays Simon Marty guitars (spruce top, cedar top) with Savarez strings.