News comes from Mario Cloutier at La Presse that cellist and conductor Yuli Turovsky died in Montreal last night, aged 73.
The Russian-born artist decided to put down roots in Canada in 1976 and, over the course of the ensuing 36 years left an indelible mark on concert life in Montreal and beyond through his various collaborations — but especially with the chamber orchestra I Musici, which he founded in 1983.
That remarkable ensemble, which used to be heard regularly on CBC Radio and which made many visits to Toronto, has a discography of four dozen albums, all of which count among the best in chamber orchestra or string orchestra repertoire.
Through teaching, master classes and his electrifying playing, Turofsvky also left a deep impression on many cello students.
On a personal note, Turofsky was one of the few, special musicians who has been able to move me to tears in live performance. He simply put everything he had into every stroke of his bow.
The last couple of years had been difficult ones. Due to health problems, he retired from I Musici in 2011, but continued to teach at Université de Montréal.
His wife and intimate musical collaborator, violinist Eleonora, died last May.
Turofsky was born in Moscow in 1939, eventually earning a Doctorate from the Moscow Conservatory. Among his many early accomplishments was becoming principal cello of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra — a job that left him permanently enamoured of the many expressive possibilities of smaller ensembles.
Around the time he and Eleonora decided to settle in Canada, Turovsky founded the Borodin Trio with pianist Luba Edlina and Rotislav Dubinsky, the founding first violin of the Borodin Quartet. The Trio itself made about two-dozen recordings.
There are not a lot of chamber orchestras around. Even so, what Turovsky managed to build in terms of energy, ensemble and expressive power, was rare.
I can’t think of a better way to mark the moment musically than in these first 10 minutes of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending. Yuli conducts; Eleonora is soloist: