Monthly Archives: September 2016

Rudolf Barshai

Once again we have a plethora of composers from which to choose. However, as with the other day when we shunned the easy option of merely listing them all, we have chosen a musician to whom to pay tribute today.

As famous viola players are far a few between, not to mention usually being the butt of jokes, we thought it was high time the balance was redressed and hence have chosen to pay tribute to Rudolf Barshai who was born this day in 1924.

28-barshaiBarshai studied at the Moscow Conservatory. He performed as a soloist and as a member of a trio with Mstislav Rostropovich and Leonid Kogan winning numerous Soviet and international competitions. He was the founding violist of the Borodin Quartet in 1945 and remained a member until 1953. Later, he studied conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory.

In 1955, Barshai founded the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, which he led and conducted until he emigrated to the West in 1977. He was the artistic director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra from 1976 to 1981; principal conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra 81/82; principal guest conductor of the Orchestre National de France 85/86; principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra from 1982 to 1988.

A biographical film, The Note, was made about Barshai in 2010 by Oleg Dorman.