Russian born, naturalized Belgian since 1990, Boris Belkin began studying the violin at the age of six, performing in public when he was seven under Kirill Kondrashin’s baton. He then pursued his studies at the Centra1 Music School of the Moscow Conservatoire, with Professors Yuri Yankelevich and Felix Andrievsky. While still a student he was already performing throughout the Soviet Union with the most important national orchestras, until in 1973 he won the First Prize at the Soviet National violinists Competition.
The year after he emigrated to the West and since then, he has performed all over the world with the most prestigious orchestras, among which: the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh and Montreal Symphonic Orchestras, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Royal Concertgebouw and the most relevant British orchestras. Then, while in New York, he was coached by Isaac Stern.
Boris Belkin has appeared in many television productions, e.g. a Sibelius biographical film where he performs the Finnish composer’s Violin Concerto with the Swedish Radio Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Tchaikovsky concerto with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, Ravel’s “Tzigane” again with Bernstein and the Orchestre national de France, and Paganini’s Concerto nr. 1 with Bernhard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Some of the conductors with whom he has collaborated: Leonard Bernstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Sanderling, Yuri Temirkanov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Günther Herbig, Klaus Tennstedt, Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Paavo Berglund, Eduardo Mata, Myung-whun Chung, Leonard Slatkin, Junichi Hirokami, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Franz Welser-Möst, Yuri Ahronovich, among others. In I997, Isaac Stern invited Boris to perform with him at the Miyazaki Music Festival.
His ﬁrst recording, Paganini’s Concerto nr. 1 with the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta, was highly praised. His further Decca recordings include the Concertos by Tchaikovsky and Sibelius with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Ashkenazy, the Concerto by Strauss with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, again with Ashkenazy, the Brahms Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra led by Iván Fischer.
For Denon, he has recorded the two violin Concertos by Prokoﬁev with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra conducted by Michael Stern, the Concertos of Sibelius and Bruch, Dmitri Shostakovich’s nr. 1 and the Concerto by Glazunov, both with the Royal Philharmonic and Junichi Hirokami, the Tchaikovsky concerto with the London Philharmonic conducted by Michael Stern, Mozart’s A-Major Concerto K 219 and the Sinfonia Concertante with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, as well as the Brahms Sonatas with French pianist Michel Dalberto.
Maestro Belkin also favours the chamber music repertoire, he has performed with artists such as Yuri Bashmet, Mischa Maisky and many others.
His 2006-2007 season included a European tour with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by Yuri Temirkanov, a Japan tour with the NHK Orchestra conducted by Junichi Hirokami and Vladimir Ashkenazy, as well as an Australian tour with the Sydney Symphony led by Gianluigi Gelmetti, while the subsequent season entailed performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra led by Leonard Slatkin, and the Staatskapelle Dresden under Charles Dutoit’s baton.
In 2010, Yuri Temirkanov invited him to play with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic at the Rostropovich Festival in Moscow.
Other recent appearances include the Sydney Festival with Vladimir Ashkenazy, a Japan tour with the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic led by Yuri Temirkanov, concerts with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Hirokami. With the Orchestra Luigi Cherubini di Ravenna (the one founded by Riccardo Muti) in 2022 a Bach and Bruch program, and earlier this year, conducting and playing at the same time a Vivaldi and Mozart program.
As a teacher, Belkin has held yearly masterclasses from 1986 to 2020 at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, also at the Maastricht Academy of Music; he currently teaches at the Imola Summer Music Academy. He performs on an instrument crafted in Bologna by Roberto Regazzi.