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Probably the world's leading viola player. He has in fact changed the status of the viola to such an extent that he was the first violist to give solo recitals at places such as La Scala in Milan and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Major composers who have written works for Bashmet include Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Poul Ruders, John Tavener, and Giya Kancheli. He is especially associated with Schnittke, whose viola concerto he performed at the Concertgebouw in 1986.

Born in Rostov-on-Don in 1953, he studied in Moscow and became the youngest ever professor at the Conservatoire there. In 1976 his international career began when he was awarded first prize at the International Viola Competition in Munich.

In his concerts he often appeared with the pianist Sviatoslav Richter. Since 1992 he has worked with his own group, called the Moscow Soloists.

His name is stressed bash-MYET.

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