Boris Kuschnir

Boris Kuschnir was born into a music family in Kiev in 1948. He studied violin with Boris Belenky at the Moscow Conservatory and chamber music with Valentin Berlinsky of the Borodin Quartet.

His many encounters with Dmitri Shostakovich (working on his last quartets) and David Oistrakh, with whom he also studied, had a lasting influence on his artistic development. His career started in 1969 when he was one of the three winners of the Allunions-Competition in Leningrad where, in the final, he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Yuri Temirkanov.

He has won numerous prizes at international violin and chamber music competitions (Paris, Belgrade, Sion, Trapani, Bratislava, Florence, Trieste, Gorizia, Hamburg, Vercelli). In 1970 he founded the Moscow String Quartet and remained its member until 1979.

Since 1981 he has been living in Austria. He became an Austrian citizen in 1982 and was the first concertmaster of the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz until 1983. In 1984, he became a Professor at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna and also a distinguished Professor at the University of Music in Graz in 1999. His reputation as a teacher won international recognition with the recent outstanding success of his pupils, Julian Rachlin (1st Prize Eurovision Grand Prix for Young Musicians, Amsterdam, 1988), Nikolaj Znaider (1st Prize of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, Brussels, 1997), Alexandra Soumm (1st Prize of the Eurovision Grand Prix, Lucerne, 2004) and Lorenzo Gatto (2nd Prize of the Queen Elizabeth International Competition, Brussels, 2009). 

In addition to this he educated more than 40 laureates of national and international competitions, his pupils have been appointed Professors at Universities, playing in various chamber music ensembles and orchestras of the world — 6 of his students play at the Vienna Philharmonics.

At the same time he constantly gives masterclasses at renowned academies like the Verbier Festival Academy and Kronberg Academy and is a jury member of various international music competitions such as Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Niccolò Paganini Competition in Genua, the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, Tibor Varga Competition in Switzerland, Eurovision Competition, David Oistrakh Competition in Moscow, Pablo de Sarasate Competition in Pamplona, George Enescu Competition in Bucharest, Seoul International Music Competition, ARD International Music Competition in Munich, Louis Spohr Competition in Weimar, Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition in Fermo, Aram Khachaturian International Competition in Jerewan, the Yankelevitch International Violin Competition in Omsk and the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

In 1984 Boris Kuschnir founded the Wiener Schubert Trio which received many prestigious awards, among them the 1st Prize at the International Chamber Music Competition Sergio Lorenzi in Trieste, Italy; the Mozart Interpretationspreis, 1988 in Vienna and the Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation, 1990. Boris Kuschnir played as a soloist and a chamber musician in some of the world’s most illustrious venues: Wiener Musikverein, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the Wigmore Hall London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, as well as in the Moscow Conservatory Hall, the Ishibashi Memorial Hall and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. He has taken part in numerous festivals such as Salzburg Festival, Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival, December Evening (Swiatoslaw Richter Winterfestival) in Moscow, White Nights in St. Petersburg, Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival in Dubrovnik, Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

Boris Kuschnir appears with such illustrious partners as Elisabeth Leonskaja, Boris Berezovsky, Leif Ove Andsnes, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Itamar Golan, Elena Bashkirova, Julian Rachlin, Nikolaj Znaider, Maxim Vengerov, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Renaud Capucon, David Garrett, Yuri Bashmet, Misha Maisky, Boris Pergamenshchikov, Natalia Gutman, Gautier Capucon, Sol Gabetta, Ivan Monighetti. Both as soloist and chamber musician Boris Kuschnir made numerous recordings, notably the complete Mozart piano trios for EMI, which were released in the Mozart year 1991.

In 1993 he founded the Vienna Brahms Trio which made their highly acclaimed debut at the Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. In 1996, the Trio won First Prize at the 9th International Chamber Music Competition in Illzach, France. Their recording of Schumann’s complete works for Piano trio was released on the Naxos label in 1999. He was co-founder of the Kopelman Quartet in 2002 with which he is giving concerts all over the world since and has released CDs at Nimbus Records and Wigmore Hall Live.

In 1999 the Austrian President Dr. Thomas Klestil awarded Boris Kuschnir with the official title «Professor». In 2008 the President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Fischer awarded Boris Kuschnir with the «Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria» and in 2013 with the «Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and the Arts, First Class».

The President of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing Wang Cizhao awarded the certificate of Honorary Professorship to Boris Kuschnir in December 2014.

Boris Kuschnir plays a violin made by Antonio Stradivari — «La Rouse-Boughton» — made in Cremona, 1698. It was given to him as a loan in 1991 by the Austrian National Bank in recognition of his artistic performance and his service rendered to music.