Yuri Bashmet appears frequently throughout the world in the dual role of conductor and viola soloist. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the Moscow Soloists Chamber Ensemble, Artistic Director of the December Nights Festival, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Novaya Rossiya State Symphony Orchestra and Founder, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra. As the pre-eminent viola player of today he has inspired the creation of as many as 55 viola concertos by prominent composers including Alfred Schnittke, Alexander Tchaikovsky, Sir John Tavener, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Sofia Gubaidulina. Born in Russia, Yuri Bashmet studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Vadim Borisovsky (of the Beethoven Quartet) and Feodor Druzhinin. His international career was launched in 1976 when he won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. Since then he has appeared as soloist with all the world’s greatest orchestras including the London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In chamber music his closest collaborators include Sviatoslav Richter, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Marta Argerich, Maxim Vengerov, Natalia Gutman, Anne Sophie Mutter, Lynn Harrell and the Borodin Quartet. He is a frequent visitor to major festivals including the Verbier Festival and Martha Argerich’s Festival in Japan. His CD recordings include the Gubaidulina Concerto and Kancheli Styx for Deutsche Grammophon which received a Grammy nomination and won a Diapason d’Or award. Other notable recordings for Deutsche Grammophon include Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Brahms’ Piano Quartet No.1 with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky, and the Bartók Viola Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez. Yuri Bashmet is a Founder and Chairman of the Jury of the International Viola Competition in Moscow and the President of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition at the Isle of Man. Dedicated to teaching, he also serves as Professor at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music and as an honored Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He often leads masterclasses at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena in Italy and at the Kronberg Academy in Germany. He currently plays on a 1758 Testore viola (a similar model to the one Mozart played).