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Yuri Bashmet

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Yuri Bashmet is one of the world’s greatest living violist.
Through his virtuosity, strength of personality and high intelligence, Yuri Bashmet has given the viola a new prominence in musical life. The pre-eminent viola player of the modern age, he has motivated the leading composers of our time to expand the repertoire with significant new music. He is Artistic Director of the December Evenings festival in Moscow, Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, and is the founder / director of Moscow Soloists. He also appears throughout the world in the dual role of conductor / soloist.

Born in 1953 in Rostov-on-Don in Russia, he spent his childhood in Lvov in Ukraine before studying at the Moscow Conservatoire with Vadim Borisovsky (of the Beethoven Quartet) and Feodor Druzhinin. His international career was launched in 1976 when he won the International Viola Competition in Munich. Since then he has appeared with all the world’s great orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston, Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, which presented its own Yuri Bashmet Festival.

He has inspired many composers to write for him, and has enjoyed strong personal and professional relationships with Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina in particular. Schnittke’s Viola Concerto, written for him, is now firmly established in the repertoire. Other concertos composed for him include works by Poul Ruders, Alexander Tchaikovsky and Alexander Raskatov.

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