Yuri Bashmet: “Culture will react powerfully to what is happening in the world”

Today, Russia must maintain that high artistic level that has put the country to the top position in the world for more than 200 years, Yuri Bashmet, Honored Artist of the USSR, viola player and conductor, Vice-President of the Council of Russian Union of Rightholders, said in an interview with the “Izvestia” newspaper.

According to the musician, the pandemic had a negative impact primarily on the cultural industry: concerts and performances were canceled; museums and other cultural institutions were closed due to quarantine. Mr. Bashmet believes that it is important to keep Russian traditions, its future development and achievements.

At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that culture will powerfully react to what is happening in the world – new images and works dedicated to current events will certainly appear in art.

The violist also told what he is busy with while the lockdown: he develops future programs, analyzes his works and past performances, watches concerts, and often is nostalgic for some episodes of his artistic life.

Speaking about the program to support young musicians, which was launched jointly with “Russian Concert Agency”, Yuri Bashmet noted that more than 20 musicians were financially supported. According to the maestro, the initiative will go on.

“We need to act quickly, because many are now left without funds to support themselves. These are soloists, including laureates of the Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as composers and conductors who do not have permanent jobs with orchestras. This brings to mind the joke of Samuel Samosud: when asked if it is difficult to be a conductor, he replied that it is not – it is difficult to find a permanent job,” said Yuri Bashmet, adding that initially he financed the project, but later other musicians who wanted to support colleagues in difficult times joined him.

The conductor also shared his opinion on anti-epidemiological measures for concert activities, in particular, the rule of social distancing between musicians in the orchestra. Yuri Bashmet assured that he and his team are ready for the new rules.

“Eventually it will return back to normal, the required social distancing will be less. I am very pleased that in Europe they are looking for some ways out, for example, to play with smaller bands, keep farther distance from each other, and so on. Why not give it a try? I think we will adapt. We have adapted to different life events. But this is the first time in our lives that we have faced such horror. But humanity will not end its triumphant path at this point,” concluded the Honored Artist of the USSR.