Skip to Content

Boris Belkin - Violin

“... his playing has infinite qualities of song and suppleness. In this music (Prokofiev’s 2nd Violin Concerto), where many prefer to work from a plan of sometimes irritating dryness, he traced the music with full and slender strokes of playful elegance. His sound is round, generous yet with shafts of strength and passion. The bow, a length of wood he handles like the blade of a foil, is sure and used without show. The second movement, a long line of solo singing with expressive clarinet and string accompaniment, remained on the edge of containment without overflowing into sentiment. The last movement, which does not have the radiance of the two preceding it, requires a vivacity and occasional gritty quality that Boris Belkin truthfully gave us.”

“Expressiveness without sentimentality” Marie-Aude Roux, 17 Nov '12 / Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No. 2 op. 63, Boris Belkin (violin), Orchestra of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Yuri Temirkanov (conductor) - Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris

Boris Belkin began studying the violin at the age of six and made his first public appearance when he was seven with the great conductor Kyrill Kondrashin. He studied first at the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory with Professors Yankeievitz, Glezarova and Andrievsky, very quickly playing as a soloist all over the Soviet Union with its leading national orchestras whilst he was a student, and in 1973 won first prize in the Soviet Union’s National Competition for Violinists.

Boris Belkin played in Moscow at the inaugural 1st Rostropovich Festival in 2011 with Temirkanov and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He emigrated to the west in 1974 and since regularly worked with conductors like Bernstein, Ashkenazy, Mehta, Maazel, Muti, Ozawa, Kurt Sanderling, Temirkanov, Dohnányi, Dutoit, Gelmetti, Herbig, Tennstedt, Rattle, Haitink, Berglund, Mata, Chung, Hirokami, Fedoseyev, Ahronovitch, Welser-Most, Lazalev, Simonov, Gelmetti and Kogan, alongside many others, performing with the world’s leading orchestras including the Boston Symphony, Cleveland, Berlin Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Royal Concertgebouw and the major British Orchestras. Boris Belkin has regularly returned to the Miyazaki Festival since he was first asked by Isaac Stern to perform with him at it in 1997 and he plays chamber music with artists such as Yuri Bashmet, Mischa Maisky, Georges Pludermacher, and many others. Season ‘12/13 includes several concerts in Paris, Moscow and Spain with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Yuri Temirkanov, and tours to South America and Spain with the Moscow Philharmonic.

Boris Belkin has featured in several television productions which include a film on Jean Sibelius (performing the Concerto with the Swedish Radio Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy), with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto, with Bernstein and the Orchestra National de France playing Ravel's Tzigane and with Bernard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Mozart and Paganini’s Concerto No.1.

Boris Belkin’s first recording, Paganini’s 1st Violin Concerto, was with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta and was extremely highly praised. His other discs for Decca include the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Concertos with The Philharmonia and Ashkenazy, Richard Strauss’s Concerto with Berlin Radio and Ashkenazy, Prokofiev’s Concertos No.1 and No.2 with the London Philharmonic under Kondrashin and Barshai and the Brahms Concerto with the LSO and Fischer. For Denon he has recorded the Prokofiev Concertos with the Zurich Tonhalle and Michael Stern, the concertos by Sibelius, Bruch and Glazunov plus Shostakovich’s 1st Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic and Junichi Hirokami, Tchaikovsky’s Concerto with the London Philharmonic conducted by Michael Stern, Mozart’s Concerto in A major K219 and Sinfonia Concertante with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists and Brahms’ Sonatas with Michel Dalberto.

Boris Belkin has held master classes in Siena, Italy, at the famed Accademia Chigiana, since 1985.

Media

Click to download

Photos

Reviews

The great Russian violinist Boris Belkin, busy in the summer masters of the Sienna, in a concert of Chigiana International Festival 2016 faces a masterpiece of Russian music.

"The Second Concerto for Violin and Orchestra has an Andante assai - a song of melodic, singing Prokoviev - between two fast movements which bring out the bite, histrionic and dynamic side of the composer that requires a virtuoso's ability to reach their limits by walking a tightrope between well reasoned intellectualism and warmth. No problem then for a violinist of Boris Belkin's level ...... who gave us a very fiery performance of those two extreme movements with a loving and tenderly meditative reading of the Andante. Ultimately, Belkin gave us everything that could be expected from a soloist of his calibre: an absolutely impeccable technique, an instrumental sound first olympically clear then lush and gorgeous, with a warmth without obvious intellectualism and giving us a stylish, distinguished performance. At the end, of course, it aroused the public's exalted enthusiasm."

Inserita - reviewer Gliberto Mion, 27 July 2016 - Orchestra della Toscana, conductor Jonathan Stockhammer, 25th July 2016, Church of Sant'Agostino in Siena
“It is difficult to know if we missed something in the cancellation of violinist Julia Fischer yesterday or if this was good fortune by giving us the opportunity instead to hear Boris Belkin who replaced her in the well known First Violin Concerto, op. 26, by Bruch. Belkin, with an instrument of heady sonority in his hands, gave a reading which had no downsides and could not be criticised. He used a warm virtuosity with ease, developing each phrase neatly and with clear articulation giving everything a complete range of nuances and colours which carried everything to success. ..... The sum of it all was that the public would not stop cheering until it coaxed Belkin to give an encore, the great Bach [Adagio from Sonata no.1 for solo violin].”

"Basque Culture Diary" - reviewer: José Maria Cano, 25 May '14 / BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; Boris Belkin, violin. Director: Juanjo Mena
“....... the result was overwhelming and nothing other than a complete picture that exposed every detail with a technical capability that can only be described as infallible, whatever the type of difficulty involved, in commitment to every part or when the soloist imposed a breakneck speed as happened at the end of Tchaikovky's Violin Concerto which showed an extreme virtuosity that was hard to believe but had an infallible dazzling effect. Culminating his overwhelming interpretation, Boris Belkin then gave his impeccable reading of the adagio from Bach's First Sonata for solo violin.”

"La Verdad" - reviewer: Octavio de Juan, 2nd June 2013 / State Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, Pavel Kogan (conductor) - Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
“... his playing has infinite qualities of song and suppleness. In this music (Prokofiev’s 2nd Violin Concerto), where many prefer to work from a plan of sometimes irritating dryness, he traced the music with full and slender strokes of playful elegance. His sound is round, generous yet with shafts of strength and passion. The bow, a length of wood he handles like the blade of a foil, is sure and used without show. The second movement, a long line of solo singing with expressive clarinet and string accompaniment, remained on the edge of containment without overflowing into sentiment. The last movement, which does not have the radiance of the two preceding it, requires a vivacity and occasional gritty quality that Boris Belkin truthfully gave us.”

“Expressiveness without sentimentality” Marie-Aude Roux, 17 Nov '12 / Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No. 2 op. 63, Boris Belkin (violin), Orchestra of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Yuri Temirkanov (conductor) - Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris