Yuri Bashmet – Viola e direttore d’orchestra

Yuri Bashmet

Yuri Bashmet, renowned as the “Paganini in viola”is one of the world’s most prominent violists, and the conductor of Moscow Soloists.

Yuri Bashmet was born on 24 January 1953 in Rostov-on-Don. He began studying violin, but later changed into viola as he actually was more interested in playing guitar. At the Moscow Conservatoire, he first followed the instruction of Vadim Borisovsky, violist of the Beethoven Quartet, and later with Feodor Druzhinin. In 1976, Bashmet won first prize at the International Viola Competition in Munich, which launched his international career. There hasn’t been a violist with as big a name as Yuri Bashmet since the days of William Primrose.

Bashmet is especially excellent at the viola works of 20th century, and he frequently plays together with top-level artists from the classical music world while maintaining his special features, which has brought him the high reputation internationally.

He has been referred to as: German News acclaimed him as “The first violist of the world – Yuri Bashmet … his perfect interpretation and the brilliance of sound he can be compared only to David Oistrakh…”

Anne-Sophie Mutter, a world-famous violinist, respects Maestro Yuri Bashmet as “the most excellent viola player in the world”

Gidon Kremer credited him as “one of the greatest viola masters in current world!”

Financial Times once appraised this orchestra was “the most sophisticated string ensemble orchestra ever seen.”

Daily Telegraph commented this orchestra conducted by Yuri Bashmet as “under his conducting, this orchestra was presenting a noble yet elegant style with precise and perfect skills.”

The Times described him as ‘without doubt, one of the world’ s greatest living musicians’, In a number of major concert halls, including La Scala in Milan and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bashmet has been the first violist ever to give a solo recital. Yuri Bashmet has inspired many composers to write for him. He has appeared with nearly all the world’s leading orchestras. He has also contributed nearly a doze of highly received records in cooperation with large record companies such as Sony, BMG and JVC. In May, 1995, Moscow Soloists, created by Yuri Bashmet, debuted. Since then, this orchestra has performed worldwide, including the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Greece and Israel.

Movie companies and television broadcast corporations in many countries, including the UK, France, and Russia, have produced documentaries on his art career. His records has also won many highly reputable awards in European countries, including SNEP Certifications Album Or and Choc. His oeuvre has won him worldwide acclaim and numerous national and international awards. He was awarded the title of Celebrated Artist of Russia in 1983, the National Recognition Prize of Russia in 1994 and 1996, and Instrumentalist of the Year Award (similar to Academy Awards in film) in 1993. Yuri Bashmet is an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Yuri Bashmet won the high-profile SonningsMusikfond music prize in Copenhagen in 1995, joining the star cohort of previous SonningsMusikfond winners: Stravinsky, Bernstein, Britten, Menuhin, Stern, Rubinstein, Shostakovich, Rostropovich, Richterand Kremer.

Among his many CDs is a recording for Deutsche Grammophon of the Gubaidulina Concerto and Kancheli Styx, winner of a Diapason d’ Or award and a Grammy nomination. Other notable DG discs are Mozart’ s Sinfonia Concertante with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Brahms’ s Piano Quartet No 1 with Argerich, Kremer and Maisky, and the recently released Bartok Concerto with Berliner Philharmoniker and Boulez. For Onyx he and Moscow Soloists have embarked on a critically-acclaimed series of recordings; chamber symphonies by Shostakovich, Sviridov and Vainberg; music by Stravinsky and Prokofiev (which received a Grammy award); and a disc of music by composers from the Far East, plus a recital disc of Encores with pianist Mikhail Muntian.

Yuri Bashmet brings an enquiring and perceptive mind to life beyond classical music; he is an enthusiast for the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. He plays a 1758 Testore viola (a similar model to the one Mozart played) which he bought in 1971.

He is a true musician and great artist that deserve our respect.