Bashmet, Yuri, outstanding Russian violist; b. Rostov-na-Donu, Jan. 24, 1953. He began his training in Lwów, and then was a student of Borisovski and Druyinine at the Moscow Cons. After winning second prize in the Budapest International Competition in 1975, and first prize in the Munich International Competition in 1976, he pursued a career as a viola virtuoso. In addition to engagements as a soloist with the world’s foremost orchs., he also toured widely as a recitalist. In 1984 he founded the Moscow Soloists; also taught at the Moscow Cons. Bashmet’s authoritative performances have placed him among the foremost masters of his instrument. He has done much to encourage new works for viola by championing scores by Denisov, Schnittke, and Pettersson.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire