The famous musician had to explain to the Russian President Vladimir Putin what specific reasons he had had to move the 4th Youth Music Academy of the CIS Countries’ venue from Minsk to Lviv in 2012. The violist told the story at the event’s opening ceremony.
“I was asked during a recent meeting with the president of my country, the one where I am living at the moment: ‘Why have you chosen Lviv?’ I replied: ‘I have done it because I need to visit the cemetery where my mother, father, and grandfather lay, because I grew up there, drank my first glass of wine in Lviv, kissed a girl for the first time ever, listened to The Beatles’s record being played on a hi-fi system for the first time, and earned my first money there, too. These are the most precious experiences of anybody’s life. And more to it, it was Oleksandr Eidelman, head of the piano department at the Lysenko Lviv National Academy, who said I would surely become a famous musician when he had heard me playing the viola.’
“Putin replied curtly: ‘I see it now,’” Bashmet said as quoted by zik.ua website on March 3, 2012.
Let us recall that this is the 4th annual event of the Youth Academy program. It will last for seven days at the Lysenko National Music Academy’s premises, providing training for 42 students from 11 nations: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The students are 18 to 25 years old. They will practice piano, violin, viola, cello and singing. This time, pianist and assistant professor at the Moscow Conservatory Sergey Glavatskikh (Russia), violinist and assistant professor at the Moscow Conservatory Sergey Edelman (Belgium), violist and professor at the Moscow Conservatory Aleksandr Bobrovsky (Russia), cellist and assistant professor of the Moscow Conservatory Aleksey Seleznyov (Russia), head of the solo singing department at the Academy of Choral Art Svetlana Nesterenko (Russia) and, of course, maestro Bashmet himself will serve as star teachers for his chosen talents.
“Creativity recognizes no borders,” Bashmet assures, “and ties between our nations do not depend on the politicians’ attitudes. Unity of musicians has been an old dream for me, and I am happy to have been able to make it happen. When holding the academies, we do not expect to get an immediate result right away... We work for the future, that is, for the youth, and this is the most valuable result.”