Mihaela Ionescu came to Chicago in 1980 from Europe and, over the years, she has been very active as an orchestral and chamber musician and violin teacher.
Ionescu was born in Romania, into a family of physicians. She started playing violin at the age of seven and has regularly appeared in recital and as soloist since the age of nine. In addition, she 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. At 16, Ionescu left home, and since that time, she has traveled, studied and performed in many cities and countries in Europe. She was a student of Ştefan Gheorghiu and Cornelia Bronzetti at the Ciprian Porumbescu Music Conservatory and of Tibor Varga and André Gertler. She also had engagements with the Bern Music School and Conservatory, the Orchestra Biel-Bienne and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Sergiu Celibidache.
Since 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 Orchestra 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.
Mihaela Ionescu has two adult sons, Michael and David, and two grandchildren. Her top priorities are balancing her career and family, but she greatly enjoys photography, interior design, gardening and travel.
She plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, Guarneri pattern, dated 1865.