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Undoubtedly one of the major quartets of today, the Borodin Quartet was formed in 1945 by students from the Moscow Conservatoire, changing its name from the Moscow Philharmonic Quartet to the Borodin Quartet in 1955. Cellist Valentin Berlinsky has been with the Quartet since its earliest days and violinist Andrei Abramenkov joined over 25 years ago. Igor Naidin learnt the art of quartet playing from several of the Borodins including the Quartet’s violist, Dmitri Shebalin, whom he eventually replaced. Ruben Aharonian has won prizes at several international competitions, including the Enescu, Montreal and Tchaikovsky Competitions. Vladimir Balshin joined the Quartet in August 2007. Valentin Berlinsky, one of the founding members, retired from the Quartet in the summer of 2007. He remains associated with the Quartet as their artistic advisor. The Borodin Quartet’s particular affinity with Russian repertoire was stimulated by their early close relationship with Shostakovich, who personally supervised their study of each of his quartets. Widely regarded as definitive performances, the Quartet are giving a Shostakovich cycle in Seville this season, a cycle they have performed in many major centres including Vienna, Zurich, Madrid, Lisbon, London, Paris and New York.
January 2000 saw Valentin Berlinsky’s 75th birthday and the 55th anniversary of the Borodin Quartet, marked by celebratory concerts in Moscow and London’s Wigmore Hall. In summer 2000, their major new project, “Beethoven & Shostakovich: Parallels and Diversities”, was inaugurated at the Aldeburgh Festival.
The Borodin Quartet’s recordings for Teldec Classics International, including Tchaikovsky’s Quartets and Souvenir de Florence, Schubert’s String Quintet, Haydn’s Seven Last Words and a disc of Russian Miniatures, have all received great critical acclaim and, in the case of the Tchaikovsky disc, a Gramophone Award (1994).