Born in Istanbul, Ida Kavafian is of Armenian origin. Ida has some joint performances together with her sister Ani Kavafian. The two have performed together on the Today Show and CBS Sunday Morning. As a soloist and member of chamber music groups such as Tashi and the Beaux Arts Trio, Ida Kavafian is featured on several releases by major record labels, including RCA and Philips.
In 1956 Ida's family moved from Istanbul to the USA, where she showed her musical talent at a very early age: At the age of six she received violin lessons from Ara Zerounian in Detroit. Later, Ida studied with Mischa Mischakoff and enrolled in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music where her teachers were Oscar Shumsky and Ivan Galamian.
Ida won the first prize in the Vianna da Motta International Violin Competition in Lisbon in 1973. Two years later, she graduated from the Juilliard School of Music with a master's degree. She is the co-founder of the now acclaimed chamber music group Tashi, along with her on the violin is the pianist Peter Serkin, the cellist Fred Sherry and the clarinetist Richard Stoltzman. Over the years, the quartet has produced a number of noteworthy recordings, including "Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time," released by RCA. At the same time Kavafian built her career as a soloist and celebrated her debuts in 1978 in New York and 1982 in London together with Peter Serkin. Her first big appearance with her sister Ani Kavafian had Ida in 1983 at Carnegie Hall. This gig, like its debut concerts, received extremely positive reviews.
Ida Kavafian complemented her musical career with engagements for jazz compositions as she went on an international tour with an ensemble led by Chick Corea from 1983-1984. From 1989 to 1993 Kavafian was a member of the "Chamber Music Society" and held this position again from 1996 to 2002.
From 1992 to 1998 Ida Kavafian was part of the "Beaux Arts Trio" and still performs regularly with the formation. Ida is also co-founder of the piano quartet "Opus One", consisting of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Steven Tenenbom (husband of Ida Kavafian) and cellist Peter Wiley (also former member of the "Beaux Arts Trio", which was part of the "2001"). Guarneri Quartet ").
In 2002, Kavafian received a teaching assignment at the Curtis Institute and the Mannes College of Music. Ida lives in Connecticut where she finds time to breed show dogs. Kavafian's repertoire is wide-ranging: Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn are just as much in her portfolio as the works of Wuorinen, Ruth Crawford and Toru Takemitsu. The latter even composed a concert for Ida, whose premiere Ida Kavafian played.