Through his virtuosity, strength of personality and intelligence, Yuri Bashmet as given the viola a new prominence and motivated the leading composers of our time to expand the repertoire with significant new music. He is Artistic Director of the December Nights Festival, Moscow, Principal Conductor of the Novaya Rorriya State Symphony Orchestra, and the founder?/?director of Moscow Soloists. Yuri Bashmet spent his childhood in Lviv in Ukraine before studying at the Moscow Conservatoire with Vadim Borisovsky (of the Beethoven Quartet) and Feodor Druzhinin. In 1976, he won the International Viola Competition in Munich. Since then he has appeared with the world’s great orchestras, including Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston, Chicago and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. He has inspired many composers to write for him, and has enjoyed strong relationships with Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina. Concertos composed for him include works by Poul Ruders, Alexander Tchaikovsky and Alexander Raskatov. He has also given the world premieres of Styx by Giya Kancheli, The Myrrh Bearer by John Tavener and On Opened Ground by Mark-Anthony Turnage – all of which were written for him. In December 2002 Bashmet became Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia. Other orchestras with which he appears as conductor?/?soloist include the Dresdner Philharmoniker, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Camerata Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Brussels Philharmonic. He is the founder of Moscow Soloists, an ensemble he has performed with and directed since 1992. In chamber music his closest collaborators have included Sviatoslav Richter, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Maxim Vengerov, Natalia Gutman, Viktoria Mullova and the Borodin Quartet. He formed a highly successful trio with mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Other recent chamber music projects include Beethoven trios with Anne Sophie Mutter and Lyn Harrell. He is a frequent visitor to summer festivals such as Elbe, Verbier and Martha Argerich’s festival in Japan and Pietrasanta in Concerto in Italy. Among his many CDs is a recording for Deutsche Grammophon of the Gubaidulina Concerto and Kancheli Styx, winner of a Diapason d’Or award and a Grammy nomination. Other notable DG discs are Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Brahms’s Piano Quartet N°?1 with Argerich, Kremer and Maisky, and the recently released Bartók Concerto with Berliner Philharmoniker and Boulez. For Onyx he and Moscow Soloists have embarked on a critically-acclaimed series of recordings: chamber symphonies by Shostakovich, Sviridoc and Vainberg; music by Stravinsky and Prokofiev , which received a Grammy award. He plays a 1758 Testore viola.