Brazilian-born Vanya Elias-José is considered amongst the top pianists of her generation. She started playing the piano at the age of six and gave her first public recital at the age of seven. Her playing reached the pinnacle of Brazilian acclaim in 1968 when she won the State Governor's Award only three years after she had been awarded the Order Comenda Marechal Couto Magalhães.
In 1969, invited by the French Government, Vanya Elias-José came to Paris where she studied under the patronage of Magda Tagliaferro and with Vlado Perlemuter. In 1972 she won the Gold Medal for best interpreter of Villa-Lobos in the International Piano Competition of Barcelona which marked the start of her international career. Continuing to study with the distinguished pianist Alicia de Larrocha and the composer Federico Mompou in Spain Vanya's empathy with Spanish music was to be the lasting note in her career.
Vanya has enjoyed a very special musical relationship with Camargo Guarnieri, one of the most prominent Brazilian composers of our times. She met him at the age of nine when she started playing his music for him. Later she won awards at Camargo Guanieri Festivals in São Paulo. He dedicated the Study no. 18 and the Sonatina no. 2 to Vanya. Her most treasured memories are performing Shostakovitch piano concerto no. 1 conducted by Maestro Guarnieri and the University of São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.
In 1991 Vanya was invited by the Fundacao Magda Tagliaferro to launch 'Revival', a collection of M. Tagliaferro's recordings. The event was attended by the literary, artistic and political world of São Paulo.
In 1975 she was invited to study in London with Maria Curcio. Her London debut in the Purcell Room and her subsequent appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall were both sold-out triumphs. Such was Vanya’s impact that she was encouraged to settle in London and soon established her reputation with leading British Orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool, City of Birmingham Symphony and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras. Further engagements followed with the Cape Town Symphony, Performing Arts Council of Transvaal Orchestra in Pretoria, Panama Symphony, Orquestra da Radiodifusao Portuguesa of Lisbon, Orquestra Filarmonica de São Paulo, Orquestra Sinfonica de São Paulo, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Orquestra Sinfonica de Londrina, Orquestra Sinfonica de Santiago do Chile, Gottwaldov Symphony Orchestra of Czechoslovakia.
Vanya performed as a recitalist in Argentina, Brazil, Brunei, Colombia, Czechoslovakia, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Panama, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Conductors with whom she performed include Charles Dutoit, Ivan Fischer, Louis Frémaux, Louis de Froment, Harold Gray, Camargo Guarnieri, Norton Morozowicz, Manuel Newton, Diogo Pacheco, Christopher Seaman, Roberto Tibirica, Victor Yampolsky. Now her career takes her for recitals, concerts, masterclasses and broadcasts to all five continents. Vanya keeps in touch with Brazil by regularly appearing with leading orchestras and giving recitals.
In 1991 Vanya Elias-José was voted unanimously "Best Recitalist of the Year" by the Associação Paulista de Críticos de Arte of São Paulo, Brazil.
Vanya after her recital in July 1960 atSao Paulo's Art Museum
Performing Shostakovitch 1st Piano Concerto with the Sao Paulo Philharmonic Orchestra in September 1966
With Louis De Froment in Santiago, Chile 1978.After the performance of Saint-Saëns 2nd Piano Concerto
Vanya and Ivan Fischer in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia after the performance of Chopin 1st piano concerto in 1979