Russia loses its premier piano teacher

Russia loses its premier piano teacher


norman lebrecht

March 08, 2021

The outstanding pianist and professor Dmitri Bashkirov died in Moscow yesterday at the age of 89.

Raised in a family of scientists, he became the go-to piano teacher at the Moscow Conservatoire, nurturing such major talents as Arcadi Volodos, Dmitri Alexeev, Nikolai Demidenko, Kirill Gerstein, David Kadouch and Plamena Mangova. he also taight in Madrid.

Never a typical pedagogue, he did not pressure either of his children to play. His son Kirill became a photographer. His daughter Elena set out to become a stage director before taking up piano in her late teens. She married Daniel Barenboim and has two sons, both musicians.

Bashkirov in Moscow with Annabelle Weidenfeld, Menahem Pressler

Here’s how:



  • Martin Engstroem says:

    The world has lost one of the greatest piano pedagogues of our time. No student who ever took a lesson from Dmitri Bashkirov went away indifferent. With his passionate and uncompromising way, you were enriched and challenged. Few teachers have ever managed to form so many different artists personalities as Dmitri Bashkirov. He had that God-given way of seeing a student’s individual potential and fully developing it. He was not interested in working with you if you didn’t want to make that journey with him. It was all or nothing. I knew him personally since my 15th year and we kept regular contact over the years and he taught at the Verbier Academy for over 10 years in a row. I will miss him very much.

  • Menahem Pressler says:

    This is a terrible loss for us all, students, colleagues and friends alike. He was a unique and very great teacher. One should not forget, in addition to his a achievements in Moscow and Verbier, his immense contribution for many years at the Escuela de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid where students flocked from all over the world, those becoming great names are too numerous to mention. May my beloved and much missed friend rest in peace.

  • Peter X says:

    His version of Ravel’s Concerto pour la main gauche with Kondrashin is stunning.
    It is on YT – unfortunately split in two sections.

  • Monica Lavino Mariani says:

    Now he will be in Heaven deliting the angels with his talent … I envy them while I cry for his loss.

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    He also recorded a wonderful version of the Scriabin concerto:

  • Edgar Self says:

    May his achievements and rich company of students be a consolation to his family and friends. He played a memorable Scriabin concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the same stage where Scriabin himself had played it many years before. I value especially his Schumann recordings for EMI and associate him with Samuel Feinberg and other students of Alexander Goldenweiser but cannot at this moment confirm that and may be mistaken. A great artist and teacher.

  • IP says:

    Beautiful, graceful playing. RIP

  • Fliszt says:

    Such a dreadful, affected performance, poor taste, left hand WAY too loud, and he clobbers inner voices so crudely! I witnessed his master classes, where he yelled & screamed – he imparted nothing, and made a garish spectacle of himself. Truly the emperor’s clothes.

    • Cellist says:

      Sad times are coming when the voices of people like Fliszt and other cancel snowflakes are getting louder and louder.

      Even if you didn’t like him or his teaching methods, you should respect him and his legacy, not spit on him after his death. You’re pathetic.

      • Ludwig's Van says:

        Unlike folks like you, cellist, who automatically buy into legends, Fliszt uses his ears and discernment – and discovered that the legend (or as you misnamed it “legacy” ) didn’t apply. The nocturne performance says it all – a tacky, crude performance not worthy of Liberace.

    • Eugene says:

      Your comment displaying your total overwhelming ignorance.Music is highly emotional art.Yes, sometimes screaming and yelling is required. Not cold indifference so often to be met

  • M2N2K says:

    By the way, before becoming DB’s wife, Elena Bashkirova was married to Gidon Kremer.

    • Lady Weidenfeld says:

      Not just the husbands! Bashkirov had every reason to be very proud of a daughter who is an outstanding pianist and musician, who created and runs a wonderful Chamber Music Festival in Jerusalem and was a few months ago named life President of the Mendelssohn Foundation in Leipzig. The daughter of a great man, the wonderful wife and mother and a great woman in her own right!

  • JD says:

    I thought that the greatest Russian piano teacher belonged to S. Dorensky? Maybe I am wrong…

  • Theo Lieven says:

    Dmitri taught at our International Piano Foundation for nearly 40 years. His lessons were full of commitment. Where else can you find this today? We recorded his Chopin Nocturne by coincidence last year in February in the Musikverein in Vienna (see above). At that time he was full of energy. That he left us affects us all the more now.

  • Franz1975 says:

    I think he died in his home in Madrid, not in Russia.