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11 Feb, 2008 02:38

Russian viola master wins Grammy

Russian conductor and viola player Yury Bashmet and his Moscow Soloists' Orchestra have won a Grammy at the 50th ceremony of the U.S. Recording Academy Awards. The Russian musicians were awarded the statuette in the category of the Best Small Ensemble per

The decorated conductor turned 55 just two weeks ago, and this was another birthday present. 

The viola became recognised as a solo instrument only in the 20th century. It is Yury Bashmet who has championed compositions written for the instrument. 

His association with classical music is such that it comes as a surprise that the world’s best viola player initially wanted to be a guitarist, and dreamed of having a guitar like George Harrison's. 

However, when it came to choosing between rock’n’roll and classical music, Bashmet says the choice was made for him.  

Not only has he made the viola popular, he's become an inspiration for a number of composers who have written pieces especially for the viola. 

The influence Yury Bashmet has had is not surprising, considering his passion for music.