Yuri Bashmet

Violist and conductor

Yuri Bashmet studied at the Moscow State Conservatoire under Vadim Borisovsky and Fyodor Druzhinin. Since 1978, he has taught at the Moscow Conservatoire, as a lecturer (1988), and later as a professor (1996).

In 1986 Yuri Bashmet formed the chamber orchestra Moscow Soloists. Later, several musicians of the ensemble decided to remain in France, while Yuri Bashmet abandoned leadership of the orchestra, which soon after ceased to exist. In 1992 Yuri Bashmet founded a new ensemble using the old name, its members the most talented young musicians of Russia, graduates and post-graduate students of the Moscow Conservatoire. In 2008, the Moscow Soloists, together with Bashmet, won a Grammy Award and became the first Russian chamber ensemble ever to receive that coveted prize in its entire 50-year history. In 1996 Yuri Bashmet established the "Experimental Viola Faculty" at the Moscow Conservatoire.

The geography of the musician´s appearances is vast: it includes the finest concert halls of Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. For the first time in world performing practice, Yuri Bashmet gave solo viola concerts in such venues as Carnegie Hall (New York), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Barbican Hall, (London), Berlin´s Philharmonie, La Scala (Milan), the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire and the Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonic.

Since 2002, Bashmet has served as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the State Symphony Orchestra Novaya Rossiya. In 2012 he founded the All-Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra.

His solo concerts and ensemble appearances with other outstanding performers never fail to pack halls and rouse lively interest. Musicians with whom Yuri Bashmet has performed include Svyatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Gidon Kremer, Marta Algerich, Oleg Kagan, Natalia Gutman, Viktor Tretyakov, Yehudi Menuhin, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, Yuri Temirkanov and Nikolaus Harnoncourt to name but a few. Many contemporary composers have dedicated or specially written works for him. These include Schnittke´s concerto, Monologue and Concert for Three (dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, Yuri Bashmet and Gidon Kremer), concerti by Gubaidulina, Аlexander Tchaikovsky, Barkauskas, Eshpai and Ruders, Golovin´s Sonata Breve, Raskatov´s viola sonata and Kancheli´s Liturgy and Styx.

Yuri Bashmet is the founder and jury chair of Russia´s only International Viola Competition (Moscow) as well as president of the International Lionel Tertis Viola Competition in the United Kingdom. He has also founded an international charitable foundation which has created the Dmitry Shostakovich Prize, awarded annually for achievements in the world of art. Its recipients have been Gidon Kremer, Thomas Quasthoff, Viktor Tretyakov, Valery Gergiev, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Olga Borodina, Irina Antonova, Hataliya Gutman, Yevgeny Kissin, Maxim Vengerov, Alexei Ratmansky, Yefim Bonfman, Denis Matsuyev and Tan Dun.

For his performing activities Yuri Bashmet was awarded the USSR State Prize (1986) and named People’s Artist of the USSR (1991). Later he also received four State Prizes of Russia (1993, 1995, 2000, 2013) as well as other high awards and prizes of Russia and Europe including the Léonie Sonning Music Prize (1995).
Information for March 2022

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