Yury Bashmet, the ultimate viola virtuoso on the planet

Yury Bashmet
Violist
Founder and Artistic Director, Moscow Soloists
Principal Conductor, Symphony Orchestra of New Russia
 
1953 - Born in Rostov-on-Don
1971 - Studies at Moscow Conservatoire
1976 - Professor, Moscow Conservatoire
1976 - Wins first prize, International Viola Competition, Munich
1988 - First U.S. appearance, Soviet-American “Making Music Together” Festival, Boston
1992 - Founder and Artistic Director, Moscow Soloists ensemble
1994 - Founder, Yury Bashmet’s International Charity Foundation
2002 - Principal Conductor, Symphony Orchestra of New Russia
2006 - Grammy Award nomination for Moscow Soloists
 
Yury Bashmet is considered to be the world's greatest living violist. Through his virtuosity, strength of personality and intelligence, he has given the viola a new found prominence in the world of classical music. He has performed as a soloist with all major international orchestras during the last 25 years. His commitment to music and musicians is phenomenal, not only as a soloist, in concerto or recitals but also as a chamber player, the conductor of one of his two orchestras and as a teacher, at home in Moscow or in Siena every summer - and not forgetting the Kronberg International Academy as well! Born in Rostov-on-Don, Yury Bashmet grew up in Lvov, in Ukraine, where - like so many others - he took up the violin at the behest of his mother, although he actually preferred the guitar! At the age of 23 he became the youngest ever professor at the Moscow Conservatoire. Yury Bashmet’s exceptional artistry has inspired many composers to write for him. Having travelled the world, he still has a home in Moscow, which was a natural decision for him, given his love both for his fellow Russians and Russian culture. Yury Bashmet plays a 1758 Testore, which he bought in 1971.
 
A man whose performances hypnotise the audience, forcing music like rain, drop by drop. He is considered to be the most formidable exponent of the viola today. More than this, he communicates through his bow. His tone is expressively vocal. He can move from the hush of a liquid legato to an extreme fortissimo. Yury Bashmet, the ultimate viola virtuoso on the planet, is on Spotlight to tell us more.