Performance Thursday, April 28, 2011 | 8 PM

Yuri Bashmet
Evgeny Kissin

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Forget everything you think you know about the viola. In Bashmet’s hands, it is a powerful solo instrument, one that is perfectly suited to “the communication of Byronic emotional drama” (BBC Music Magazine). He could have no better partner than his Russian compatriot Kissin.


  • Evgeny Kissin, Piano
  • Yuri Bashmet, Viola


  • SCHUBERT Sonata in A Minor, D. 821, "Arpeggione"
  • BRAHMS Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 120, No. 2
  • SHOSTAKOVICH Viola Sonata


  • Evgeny Kissin

    Mr. Kissin was born in Moscow in October 1971 and began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of 2. At age 6, he entered a special school for gifted children, the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who has remained his only teacher. At the age of 10, he made his concerto debut, playing Mozart's D-Minor Concerto, K. 466, and gave his first solo recital in Moscow one year later. He came to international attention in March 1984 when, at the age of 12, he performed Chopin's Piano Concertos nos. 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitaenko.

    Mr. Kissin's first appearances outside Russia took place in 1985 in Eastern Europe, followed a year later by his first tour of Japan. In 1988, he performed with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker in a New Year's concert that was broadcast internationally. In 1990, Mr. Kissin made his first appearance at the BBC Proms in London; that same year, he made his North American debut, performing both Chopin concertos with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta. The following week, he opened Carnegie Hall's centennial season with a spectacular debut recital, recorded live by BMG Classics.

    Musical awards and tributes from around the world have been showered upon Mr. Kissin. He received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the best performance of the year in 1986 (which was his first performance in Japan). He was special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards, broadcast live to an audience estimated at over one billion, and became Musical America's youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1995. In 1997, he became the youngest recipient of the prestigious Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russia's culture, one of the highest cultural honors to be awarded in the Russian Republic.

    Mr. Kissin's recordings have also received numerous awards and accolades, including the Edison Klassiek in the Netherlands, Grammy Awards, Diapason d'Or, and the Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque in France.

    Mr. Kissin's 2010-2011 season features engagements in major cities across Europe, including London, Milan, Paris, Salzburg, and Vienna. He will then embark on an extensive North American tour that includes recitals, orchestral appearances, and chamber-music concerts with Yuri Bashmet.
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  • Yuri Bashmet

    Born in 1953 in Rostov-on-Don in Russia, Yuri Bashmet spent his childhood in Lviv, Ukraine, before studying at the Moscow Conservatory. His international career was launched in 1976 when he won the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. Since then, Mr. Bashmet has appeared with the world's most prestigious orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker; Vienna and London philharmonic orchestras; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Boston, Chicago, and London symphony orchestras; Orchestre symphonique de Montréal; and New York Philharmonic. The London Symphony Orchestra presented its own four-concert festival in his honor.

    Many noted composers have written for Mr. Bashmet, including Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Poul Ruders, Alexander Tchaikovsky, and Alexander Raskatov. Styx by Giya Kancheli, The Myrrh-Bearer by John Tavener, and On Opened Ground by Mark-Anthony Turnage were also written for him.

    In December 2002, Mr. Bashmet became Principal Conductor of the newly formed State Symphony Orchestra "New Russia," which he has performed with in Moscow and throughout Europe. He has also appeared as conductor and soloist with the Dresdner Philharmoniker, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Camerata Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and Brussels Philharmonic. Mr. Bashmet is also the Artistic Director of the December Evenings Festival in Moscow, and is the Founder and Director of Moscow Soloists, a chamber orchestra he has performed with and directed since 1992.

    Chamber music collaborators have included Sviatoslav Richter, Gidon Kremer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Maxim Vengerov, Natalia Gutman, Viktoria Mullova, and the Borodin Quartet. Mr. Bashmet formed a highly successful trio with mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Other recent projects include Beethoven trios with Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell. He is a frequent visitor to summer festivals, including Elbe Festival, Verbier Festival, and Beppu Argerich Music Festival in Japan.

    Mr. Bashmet's Deutsche Grammophon recording of the Gubaidulina Concerto and Kancheli Styx won a Diapason d'Or and earned a Grammy nomination. Other notable Deutsche Grammophon discs include a recording of Mozart's Sinfonia concertante with Anne-Sophie Mutter; Brahms's Piano Quartet No. 1 with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, and Mischa Maisky; and the Bartók Concerto with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Pierre Boulez. For Onyx Classics, he and Moscow Soloists have recorded chamber symphonies by Shostakovich, Sviridov, and Vainberg; music by Stravinsky and Prokofiev, which received a Grammy Award; and a disc of music by composers from the Far East.
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Schubert Sonata in A Minor, D.821 "Arpeggione" (I. Allegro moderato)
Yuri Bashmet, Viola / Mikhail Muntian, Piano
RCA Victor Red Seal
Chopin Polonaise in A flat Major, Op 53
Evgeny Kissin, Piano
RCA Victor Red Seal

At a Glance

FRANZ SCHUBERT  Sonata in A Minor, D. 821, “Arpeggione”
Although not one of Schubert’s most profound works, the “Arpeggione” Sonata has a special place of affection for violists and cellists. (The short-lived arpeggione is one of the few obsolete instruments that the early-music revival has left behind.) Its outgoing, uncomplicated lyricism recalls the winsome mood of the great Octet for strings and winds that the composer wrote earlier that same year.

JOHANNES BRAHMS  Sonata in E-flat Major for Viola and Piano, Op. 120, No. 2
Brahms’s two richly melodious sonatas for clarinet and piano are the offspring of his late-life infatuation with “Fräulein Klarinette.” Although the composer preferred the original versions over his own arrangements for viola, the similarity in timbre between the two instruments ensured that both the E-flat–Major and F-Minor sonatas would become staples of the viola repertoire.

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147
Written shortly before his death in 1975, the Viola Sonata is one of Shostakovich’s most poignant and deeply personal works. The many quotations and allusions—to his own music, as well as to other composers’ works—embedded in its three movements contribute to the sonata’s elegiac, valedictory mood. At the same time, the spare, linear textures justify Shostakovich’s description of the music as “bright and clear.”

Program Notes

Please Note

If you purchase stage seating, please arrive one hour before concert time. There will be no late seating.

This performance is part of Great Artists I, and Great Artists I Students.