Major loss: One of Russia’s greatest violinists has died, aged 90

Major loss: One of Russia’s greatest violinists has died, aged 90


norman lebrecht

March 14, 2021

The brilliant and influential violinist Mark Lubotsky died yesterday in Hamburg.

A disciple of David Oistrakh, Mark was chosen by Benjamin Britten to make the first recording of his concerto, and by Alfred Schnittke to premiere several works. He migrated to the Netherlands in the 1970s and enjoyed a considerable international career.

He became a powerful advocate of the music of two Estonians, Eduard Tubin and Arvo Pärt, and was a marvellous teacher, numbering Lisa Batiashvili and Daniel Raiskin among his students.


  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    It was actually the third recording of Britten concerto , not the first as above. Brosa and Nora Grumlíková got there beforehand. But yes, Lubotski’s is probably the best

  • Simon Scott says:

    I once heard Mark Lubotsky perform the 2nd concerto of Shnittke. Not really my kind of music but what a violinist he was! He tore into the piece like a tiger!
    He was a star pupil of Abram Yampolsky, one of the greatest violin pedagogue ever. I wonder how many of his former students are still with us. Not many, I’ll be bound.

  • Michael Turner (conductor) says:

    I heard Lubotsky perform the Britten with Neeme Jarvi and the CBSO back in the 1980s. It was excellent.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Mark Lubotsky was a marvelous violinist and musician.
    The audio clip of the Britten concerto movement is proof enough, if any be needed.
    Lisa Batiashvili is so lucky to have had Mark as one of her teachers.
    Thank you, Mark, for the memories…

  • What a pity! I well remember producing him in Schittke’s first 2 violin concertos – not only was he a great violinist, but a really nice man, too. Alfred Schittke was so pleased with the results.

    Robert von Bahr

    • Robert Kuszek says:

      Hello Mr. von Bahr. I just happen to have your Schnittke VCto disc on in my car these days. Bravo. I have listened closely to it over the years (not just in the car!)
      Mr. Lubotsky brought a piercing lyricism and an incisive rhythmic elan to this music. The slow movement of the 1st is unforgettable. I may be dating myself, but to me this is still the music of our time. RK

  • Tully Potter says:

    Lubotsky may possibly have made the first published recording of Britten’s Concerto, but it was not the one with Britten conducting! He was asked to make the Decca record after sending his Russian recording (with the Moscow Philharmonic under Kondrashin) to Britten, in the hope of gaining his approbation. Antonio Brosa, for whom the work was written, has left a live recording, which I presume was the first. Theo Olof recorded the work in the 1940s but it was not issued until much later. Paul Kling’s Lousville recording was probably the first to be issued, and Nora Grumlíkova was also early in the field. I don’t have time today to research the dates.

  • Robert Roy says:

    He was often a soloist with the RSNO. Lovely player. His Unaccompanied Bach is very good indeed.

  • Patrik Mårtensson says:

    I attended a summercourse with prof Lubotsky.
    I studied brittens violinkonsert for him then.
    He was so kind and nice as a person and pedagog!
    Great loss! Rest in peace!
    Patrik Mårtensson.