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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » B » Borisovsky, Vadim



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Vadim Borisovsky (01/01/1900 - 8/02/1972)

Vadim Borisovsky was a giant figure in bringing the art of viola playing to prominence in Russia, paralleling Lionel Tertis’s pioneering rôle in Britain. As well as performing and teaching, this involved the preparation of a staggering number of transcriptions for the instrument—200 or more.

Having begun as a violin student at the Moscow Conservatory, Borisovsky ended up as the only graduate in Vladimir Bakaleinikov’s class to specialise on the viola. This soon helped him to gain work with various Moscow groups and he became lead violist of the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra. A long and celebrated concert career followed in which Borisovsky’s artistry was generally acknowledged to be of great import, and was recognised as such by a number of dedications from composers such as Khachaturian and Shostakovich. A particularly intriguing facet of his work—rare and possibly unique in the Soviet Union at the time—was his mastery of the viola d’amour. In 1927 he gave a recital on the instrument in Moscow, playing repertoire written for it, as well as transcriptions.

Teaching was an important part of Borisovsky’s legacy, his pupils at the Moscow Conservatory (where he worked for nearly fifty years) including another legend of the viola, Yuri Bashmet.

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