No other violist has made the instrument quite as sexy for audiences, composers, and performers alike than Yuri Bashmet. Known for his rock-star like composure, Yuri gave the viola a new prominence in the modern era of classical music.
Despite being a virtuoso viola player, Yuri actually began his studies at the Moscow Conservatory in 1971. However, being a bit lazy during his studies, Yuri realized that if he switched to viola, he would not be required to master the virtuoso technique demanded by the taxing violin syllabus. He was one of the last students to be accepted by Vadim Borisovsky, who brought the viola to prominence in Russia and was dubbed the ‘father of the Soviet viola school.’ Unfortunately Vadim died the following year and Yuri continued his studies with Borisovsky’s successor, Feodor Druzhinin, for whom Shostakovich wrote his last work, the Viola Sonata.
Since the late 1970s, Yuri has taught students of the Moscow Conservatoire and conducts master classes around the world. He also founded the “Experimental Chair of Viola” in 1996 whose curriculum extended studies of the viola parts in the chamber, operatic and symphonic music in addition to works of solo viola repertoire.