Gained international acclaim by winning the Leopold Mozart Competition in Augsburg in 1987. She subsequently won First Prize in the Premio Paganini in Genoa (1993) and in 1997 was named Gramophone's Young Artist of the Year. She soon began working with such orchestras as the Munich Philharmonic, Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, performing under such conductors as Marek Janowski, Mariss Jansons, Paavo Berglund, Gary Bertini, Ingo Metzmacher and Marko Letonja.
Isabelle Faust's repertoire is very wide ranging: she successfully combines her fondness for playing on historical instruments, working with Concerto Köln and Andreas Staier, with performing contemporary music. She has given the premiere performances of such works as concertos by Werner Egk and Thierry Lancino, Richard Danielpour's A Child Reliquary, Olivier Messiaen's Fantaisie and works by Jörg Widmann dedicated to her. Faust's repertoire also encompasses works by other contemporary composers, such as Morton Feldman, György Ligeti, Luigi Nono and Giacinto Scelsi. The year 2009 will see the premieres of violin concertos dedicated to her by Michael Jarrel and Thomas Larcher.
Isabelle Faust is also a dedicated chamber musician, working regularly with such artists as Alexander Melnikov, Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff and Tabea Zimmermann.
In 2004 Isabelle Faust gave the German premiere of André Jolivet's Violin Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic under Marko Letonja. Shortly afterwards, she recorded this work onto CD for Harmonia Mundi. The repertoire recorded by Isabelle Faust is characterised by a great historical and stylistic variety, embracing chamber works and concertos from Bach to Hartmann. Her CD of works by Witold Lutosławski, Karol Szymanowski and Leoš Janáček was adjudged by The New York Times one of the best classical CDs of 2003, and her recording of Hartmann's Concerto Funèbre won the Cannes Classical Award 2002. Further phonographic productions have featured Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Prague Philharmonic under the direction of Jiří Bělohlávek and Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata with Alexander Melnikov.
Since 2004 Isabelle Faust has been on the teaching staff of the Universität der Künste in Berlin. She plays on the Stradivarius 'Sleeping Beauty' from 1704, made available to her by L-Bank Baden-Württemberg.