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Rudolf Barshai

Born in Russia, Rudolf Barshai started his music studies as a member of a boy’s choir.Later he took violin lessons and studied under Professor Lev Zeitlin, one of Leopold Auer’s star pupils.He was a founding member of the Borodin and Tchaikovsky quartets.

In 1940 Rudolf Barshai entered the Moscow Conservatory and subsequently gained a world wide fame as a viola player, working with various chamber ensembles, together with Shostakovich,Richter, Oistrakh, Rostropovich,Gilels and other well known Russian musicians.He studied at the same time composition with Dimitri Shostakovich and completed his studies as orchestral conductor under the guidance of Professor Ilya Mussin in Leningrad.In 1955 he founded the famed Moscow Chamber Orchestra, which he conducted until 1976. Performances by his orchestra met with world-wide success and there were compositions written especially for this orchestra by many distinguished Russian composers. Since his emigration from Russia in 1977, Rudolf Barshai has directed leading symphony orchestras throughout the world, earning much praise from the public and the press.In Britain, he conducted the Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and Hallé Orchestras.

Rudolf Barshai works as a guest conductor with such orchestras as Bayerische Rundfunk, Westdeutsche Rundfunk, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gurzenich Orchestra, Norddeutsche Rundfunk, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker and other leading European Orchestras. From 1982-1988he led Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as the principal conductor, and 1985-1988 Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as its Music Director. He was a principal guest conductor of the Orchestre National De France during the 1987/88 season. In the USA and Canada his guest engagements include the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston and Toronto Symphonies. He has conducted all the major orchestras of the former Soviet Union and throughout Japan.

Among Barshai’s many recordings are TchaikovskyPianoConcertos 1, 2 and 3 with Peter Donohoe, Michael Tippett’s 80th birthday record, recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo andJuliet, Francesca da Rimini, Italian Capriccio and Symphony No. 6,Mussorgsky’s Night On The Bare Mountain with Vancouver Symphony.

His numerous transcriptions for the small orchestra, notably of Prokofiev’s piano suite, Visions fugitives, and of Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet, are highly esteemed.

Rudolf Barshai has recently recorded a complete cycle of Shostakovich symphonies with the Westdeutsche Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra and MAHLER 5 and 10 Symphonies (his own orchestration) with the Junge Deutsche Philarmonie. He has just recorded Shostakovich symphonies (his own arrangements) with the Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi, Milan.