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Rudolf Barschai, Conductor, Violist and Adapter of Major Shostakovich Works Is Dead

The renowned Russian conductor and violist Rudolf Barschai died last Tuesday, 2 November 2010, at the age of 86.

Barschai was born in Russia on 28 September 1924 and studied viola and composition at the Moscow Conservatory where his teachers included Dmitri Shostakovich. After performing as a violist and forming a string trio with Mstislav Rostropovich and Leonid Kogan, he founded the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in 1955, remaining its conductor and director until his immigration to Israel in 1977. He then conducted numerous international orchestras, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, of which he was music director from1982 until 1986. He lived in Switzerland from the end of the 1980s. Barschai became especially renowned for his sensitive and authentic adaptations of chamber music works of Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev. His ingenious adaptation of the 8th String Quartet of Dmitri Shostakovich is particularly successful, beloved all over the world as Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a. Just a few weeks ago, he added the finishing touches to his life’s work with an orchestral adaptation of the “Art of the Fugue” of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The adaptations of Rudolf Barschai are, with few exceptions, published by Sikorski Music Publishers.


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