Andra Darzins was born in Adelaide, Australia. She studied at the University of Adelaide and at the University of Music in Berlin with Wolfram Christ. She was a Churchill Fellowship and DAAD scholarship holder. She won first prize in South Australia in the ABC Concerto Competition , the spezial prize “Frederic Liebstoeckl” at the Geneva Music Competition (1989) and 2nd prize (no first awarded) at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition (1992).
From 1993-2004 she was principal viola of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Andra Darzins is presently professor of viola at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany.
She has performed as a soloist with various orchestras , among them Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Riga, Sinfonia Krakovia, Kotka Symphony Orchestra (Finland), Erzgebirgisches Sinfonieorchester, Baden-Badener Philharmonie, Chamber Orchestra of Valdivia (Chile) and others.
Andra is an avid chamber musician, plays regularly in various European festivals. Being of Latvian heritage, she has a special interest in Latvian music and often performs in Latvia and with Latvian artists. In July 2023 she premiered various works by Latvian composers at a music festival in Sigulda. Recently she recorded works from Bloch and Hindemith with Latvian pianist Lauma Skride (to be released soon on Spotify).
Andra has released six solo CDs, three of these featuring Latvian music. Her recordings of the viola concertos by Hoffmeister, Stamitz and Michael Haydn in dual function as soloist and conductor were released by CPO. Her recordings have been highly acclaimed by critics and received prizes. For her efforts to popularise Latvian music she received a medal of honour from the Latvian President in 2020.
Andra has performed and recorded Morton Feldmans “Rothko Chapel” with the Stuttgart Vokalensemble. This CD was awarded the prestigious Prize of the German Record Critics in 2014.
Andra Darzins enjoys playing contemporary music, has premiered various works, some of which were written for her (such as the viola concerto by Maija Einfelde or sonata for viola and piano by Axel Ruoff) She has played with the Ensemble Modern, including tours and recordings featuring the music of Brian Ferneyhough. Andra also affiliates with the „Ensemble Resonanze Erranti“, most recently in September 2023 premiering various works for chamber ensemble.
Recently she has began a collaboration with experimental deep techno artist Laima Adelaide with live improvisations with viola and electronics.
Despite leaving her orchestral position in Hamburg Andra plays regularly as guest principal viola in major German orchestras, including the Staatskapelle Berlin, Bamberger Symphoniker, Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, Munich Philharmonic (with which she toured Asia under the baton of Lorin Maazel), the Elphilharmonie Orchester (in Hamburg and on tour), the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio (under Sir Simon Rattle), and with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich.
Andra is an accomplished pianist, (was a student of Lance Dossor) and has absolved various conducting courses and continues to develop this skill.
Since 2006 Andra is artistic director of the St. Antonius Autumn concerts in Stuttgart.
Andra plays a viola built by Guiseppe Odoardi in 1770.