Thanks to his virtuosity, his strong personality and intelligence, Yuri Bashmet has given the viola a renewed leading role in the world of music. Perhaps the most important violist of our time, he has motivated the most important composers to expand their repertoire for viola with new music. In addition to being the musical director of the Elba Musical Island Festival of Europe, he is the artistic director of the December Nights Festival in Moscow, principal conductor of the Noviya Russia State symphony Orchestra, and founder / director of the Moscow Soloists. He is often engaged in the dual role of conductor and soloist on the most prestigious stages in the world. Born in 1953 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, he spent his childhood in Lviv in Ukraine, before moving to Moscow to study at the Conservatory, with Vadim Borisovsky (of the Beethoven Quartet) and feodor Drushinin. His international career began for him in 1976, when he won the International Viola Competition in Munich. From that moment he began traveling with the most important orchestras in the world, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra, Boston, Chicago and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, at the inside which the festival named after him is presented. He inspired many authors and composers who wrote for him and in particular enjoyed a privileged relationship of close collaboration with Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina. Schnittke's Concerto for Viola, written for him, is now part of his repertoire. Among the concerts composed for him we find works by Poul Ruders, Alexander Tchaikovsky and alexander Raskatov. Bashmet also premiered Giya Kancheli's works Styx, The Myrrh Bearer du John tavener and On Opened Ground du Mark-Anthony Turnage - all written especially for him. In December 2002 Bashmet became the Conductor of the newly formed Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, with which he undertook a series of concerts in Moscow, and toured Russia, Italy, France and Great Britain. Among the other orchestras that have wanted him as conductor / soloist we find the Dresdner Philharmoniker, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Tokyo Philharmonic, Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra of Milan, chamber Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Brussels Philharmonic. He is the founder of the Moscow Soloists, an ensemble he has worked with all over the world since 1992. Bashmet is also very active in the chamber music repertoire and has collaborated with Sviatoslavn Richter, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Maxim Vengerov, Natalia Gutman, Viktoria Mullova and the Borodin Quartet. He formed a very successful trio with mezzo soprano Angelika Kirchsclager and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, combining past and contemporary music. Other recent chamber music projects include the Beethoven Trio with Annie Sophie Mutter and Lyn harrel. He is a frequent visitor to summer festivals such as the Elbe festival, Verbier and the Martha Argerich festival in Japan. Among the recordings we remember those for the Deutsche Grammophon of the concert by Gubaidulina and Styx by kancheli, winner of the Diapason d'or Award and a nomitation Grammy. Other important DG recordings are Mozart's Symphony concertante with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Piano Quartet No. 1 by Brahms with Argerich, Kremer and Maisky and the recent publication of Bartòk's concert with the Berliner Philhamroniker and Boulez. For Onyx he and the Moscow Soloists recorded a series of critically acclaimed pieces: the chamber symphonies of Shostakovich, Sviridoc and vainberg; music by Stravinsky and Prokofiev (for which he won a Grammy) and a record of music by composers from Eastern Europe, as well as a recital of Encores with pianist Mikhail Muntian. Described by The Times as "without beam, one of the greatest living musicians", Yuri Bashmet has passions and interests that go beyond the classical: he is a fan of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and presented his show of political debate on Russian television. He plays a 1758 viola di Testore (a model similar to the one owned by Mozart), which he bought in 1971.