Andrei Abramenkov was a long-serving second violinist of the string quartet from 1974 to 2011

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Andrei Abramenkov (second from left) with members of the Borodin Quartet 

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Russian violinist Andrei Abramenkov died on 3 October 2023 at the age of 88. He was a member of the Borodin Quartet for nearly 40 years.

Abramenkov was born on 7 July 1935 to a family of musicians; his father was a violinist in the Bolshoi Theatre orchestra and his mother was a pianist. He began his early musical studies singing in the choir of the Bolshoi choir, going on to train as a violinist at the Central School of Moscow, before joining Moscow Conservatory.

Before completing his studies, Abramenkov joined the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at the invitation of Rudolf Barshai, playing there until the 1970s. In 1974, he joined the Borodin Quartet, which was founded in 1945, replacing second violinist Yaroslav Alexandrov, who retired due to ill health. Joining simultaneously with first violinist Mikhail Kopelman, Abramenkov described the period of changing personnel as a turning point for the ensemble’s identity: ‘There was a new and very conscious evaluation of the music, on a deeper and more philosophical level.’

With the Borodin Quartet, Abramenkov participated in numerous performances and recordings, including the complete Shostakovich quartets and the piano quintet, Tchaikovsky string quartets and Souvenir de Florence sextet, the first and second quartets by Borodin, as well as music by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and Dvořák.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the quartet’s already busy touring schedule intensified, as the ensemble began performing internationally. From 2004 to 2005, the ensemble celebrated its 60th anniversary with performance cycles of the complete Beethoven quartets at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Vienna Musikverein. Gala concerts honouring the quartet were performed in Moscow, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris.

Abramenkov retired from the quartet in 2011 and was replaced by Sergey Lomovsky.

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