Ionescu came to Chicago in 1980 from Europe and over the years she has been
very active as an orchestra musician, chamber musician and violin teacher.
was born in Romania in a family of physicians (her father was a surgeon and her
mother a pediatrician). She started playing the violin at the age of 7, after
her parents were convinced that she should study a musical instrument since she
sang so well at a very early age.
the age of 9, Ionescu has regularly played recitals and solo concerts and
has participated in national and international competitions, including
Bucharest in 1964 and 1976; Sion, Switzerland, in 1976 and 1978; and the
International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978.
leaving home at the age of 16, Ionescu has traveled, studied, and played in
many cities and countries in Europe. Her first stop was Bucharest, where she
lived from 1970 to 1977 as a high school student and then as a student at the
C. Porumbescu Music Conservatory (graduating in 1977). Her teachers there were
Stefan Gheorghiu and Cornelia Bronzetti. She continued her studies with Tibor
Varga at the Music Academy of Sion and with André Gertler at the Summer Music
Academy in Szombately, Hungary. From 1978 to 1980, she lived in Switzerland,
where she received a performance certificate from the conservatory in Bern and
held a position in the orchestra of Biel-Bienne. During these summers, she
played with the Luzern Festival Orchestra under Sergiu Celibidache.
coming to Chicago, Ionescu has been a member of the first violin section of the
Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago and was principal second violin of the Grant
Park Symphony until 1987, when she was appointed to the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra by Sir Georg Solti. In addition to solo recitals, she has performed
with most local ensembles and her own chamber music group, the Athenaeum
Ensemble. She also has appeared with members of the Vermeer Quartet at the Bay
Chamber Festival in Rockport, Maine, and on the Dame Myra Hess recital series
at the Chicago Public Library.
and her husband, violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, have two sons, Michael and David.
Her top priorities are balancing her career and motherhood, but she greatly enjoys
photography, interior design, gardening and traveling.