Conductor Rudolf Barshai dies aged 86

Russian conductor and violist Rudolf Barshai has died in Switzerland, aged 86.

Born in Krasnordar Krai in 1924, Barshai studied violin, viola and conducting at the Moscow Conservatoire.

Barshai was a founding member of the Borodin Quartet and in 1955 he founded the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, which he led until he emigrated to Israel in 1977.

Following his departure from the USSR, Barshai conducted symphony orchestras around the world. He will be remembered in particular for championing the music of Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Barshai had been ill for some time, but continued to work until his final days, completing a chamber orchestra arrangement of Bach’s The Art of Fugue shortly before his death.