World-famous Russian conductor and musician and Sochi 2014 Ambassador
“I believe it is very important to preserve the happiness, the desire to work hard and the will to win that we all felt two years ago in Guatemala. Russian pride for sport and culture, and harnessing both together will make the 2014 Winter Games special”
"Music is like a corridor that leads me to cosmic revelations."
Yuri Bashmet was born on 24 January 1953 in Rostov-on-Don. He finished secondary music school in Lvov in 1971, then studied at the Moscow Conservatory until 1976.
His first viola instructor was Professor Vadim Borisovsky, who died in 1972. The rest of Yuri?s training was under the tutelage of Prof. Fedor Druzhinin, who also curated Yuri during his internship and assistantship at the Moscow Conservatory, 1976 through 1978.
Yuri Bashmet still plays his Paolo Testori viola (crafted in Milan in 1758) he bought in 1972. While still a student, Bashmet won 2nd prize at the international viola competition in Budapest in 1975, and the Grand Prix at the ARD viola competition in Munich in 1976. Yuri Bashmet won international acclaim as a musician of phenomenal talent. His music career really took off in the late 70s-early 80s.
Yuri Bashmet started playing concerts on a regular basis in 1976, when he went on a German tour with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra founded by R. Barshai. He has been teaching at the Moscow Conservatory since 1978; he became Senior Lecturer in 1888, and Full Professor in 1996.
Yuri Bashmet has taught master classes in Japan, Europe, the Americas and Hong Kong since 1980; he also teaches summer school at the Quigiana Academy in Siena (Italy) and the academy in Tour, France. His disciples, many of them international prizewinners, play in some of the foremost orchestras around the world.
Yuri Bashmet began conducting music in 1985. In his conducting career, he has remained the brave, fearless artist and modern thinker he always was.
Yuri Bashmet founded the Soloists of Moscow Orchestra in 1986. During an international tour in 1991, Bashmet, as the artistic director of his orchestra, signed a temporary contract with Montpelier City Hall for the orchestra to play in Montpelier, France. His musicians subsequently decided to stay in France, and Bashmet had to leave the orchestra. The orchestra soon ceased to exist. In the meantime, Bashmet founded a new orchestra in 1992 with some of the brightest young musicians in Russia, all graduates or graduate students of the Moscow Conservatory. In 1996, Yuri Bashmet created and stepped at the helm of an experimental viola department at the Moscow Conservatory, where apart from solo pieces for viola, students are taught an extensive repertoire of viola parts in chamber music, symphonies and operas, combined with in-depth study of past and contemporary performing styles.
As a performer, Yuri Bashmet is always in the spotlight in Russia and internationally. 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 and People?s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1991. He won the National Recognition Prize of the Soviet Union in 1986, 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 Sonnings Musikfond music prize in Copenhagen in 1995, joining the star cohort of previous Sonnings Musikfond winners: Stravinsky, Bernstein, Britten, Menuhin, Stern, Rubinstein, Shostakovich, Rostropovich, Richter and Kremer.
In 1999, the Minister of Culture of France made Yuri Bashmet a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. The Prime Minister of Lithuania awarded Bashmet the Order of the Lithuanian Republic for his «inestimable contribution to world art» in 2000. The President of Italy awarded him the Italian Order of Merit of the Republic the same year.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Bashmet the Order for Service to the Homeland in 2002. The Russian Biographical Society voted Yuri Bashmet «Man of the Year» in 2000.
Yuri Bashmet is the founder and chairman of the jury of Russia?s fist and only international viola competition in Moscow. He is also President of the Lionel Tertis Viola Competition in England, and sits on the jury of the Munich viola competition and the Maurice Vieux International Viola Competition in Paris. \
Yuri Bashmet lives and works in Moscow.