Boris Kuschnir was born into a music family in Kiev in 1948. He studied violin with Boris Belenky at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and chamber music with Valentin Berlinsky of the Borodin Quartet.
His many encounters with Dmitri Shostakovich (working on his last quartets) and David Oistrakh, with whom he also studied, had a lasting influence on his artistic development. His career started in 1969 when he was one of the three winners of the Allunions-Competition in Leningrad where, in the final, he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Yuri Temirkanov.
He has won numerous prizes at international violin and chamber music competitions (Paris, Belgrade, Sion, Trapani, Bratislava, Florence, Trieste, Gorizia, Hamburg, and Vercelli). In 1970 he founded the Moscow String Quartet and remained a member until 1979.
Since 1981 he has been living in Austria. He became an Austrian citizen in 1982 and was the first concertmaster of the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz until 1983. In 1984, he became a Professor at the Konservatorium Wien University and also a distinguished Professor at the University of Music in Graz in 1999. His reputation as a teacher won international recognition with the recent outstanding success of his pupils, Julian Rachlin (1st Prize Eurovision Grand Prix for Young Musicians, Amsterdam 1988), Nikolaj Znaider (1st Prize of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, Brussels 1997), Lidia Baich (1st Prize Eurovision Grand Prix for Young Musicians, Vienna 1998), Dalibor Karvay (1st Prize Eurovision Grand Prix for Young Musicians, Berlin 2002; 1st Prize International Tibor Varga Competition, Switzerland 2003; 1st Prize David Oistrakh Competition, Moscow 2008), Alexandra Soumm (1st Prize Eurovision Grand Prix for Young Musicians, Lucerne 2004), Lorenzo Gatto (2nd Prize Queen Elisabeth Competition, Brussels 2009), Pavel Milyukov (1st Prize Aram Khachaturian International Competition, 2012, 2nd Prize Seoul International Music Competition, 2012), Eugene Chepovetsky (2nd Prize David Oistrakh International Competition, Moscow 2008), and Aleksey Igudesman (Igudesman & Joo).
In addition to this he has educated more than 40 laureates of national and international competitions, his pupils have been appointed professors at universities and are playing in various chamber music ensembles and orchestras of the world – six of his students play at the Vienna Philharmonic.
At the same time he constantly gives master classes at renowned academies like the Verbier Festival Academy and Kronberg Academy and is a jury member of various international music competitions such as Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Niccolò Paganini Competition in Genoa, the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, Joseph Joachim Competition in Hannover, Tibor Varga Competition in Switzerland, Michael Hill Competition in New Zealand, Eurovision Competition, David Oistrakh Competition in Moscow, Pablo de Sarasate Competition in Pamplona, George Enescu Competition in Bucharest, Seoul International Music Competition, Violin Masters in Monte Carlo, Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition in Fermo, Aram Khachaturian International Competition in Jerewan and the Yankelevitch International Violin Competition in Omsk.
In 1984 Boris Kuschnir founded the Wiener Schubert Trio which received many prestigious awards, among them the 1st Prize at the international Chamber Music Competition Sergio Lorenzi in Trieste, Italy with Sandor Vegh as president of the jury, the Mozart Interpretationspreis 1988 in Vienna and the Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation 1990. Boris Kuschnir played as a soloist and a chamber musician in some of the world’s most illustrious venues: Wiener Musikverein, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, the Wigmore Hall London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, as well as in the Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire Moscow, the Ishibashi Memorial Hall and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. He has taken part in numerous festivals such as Salzburg Festival, Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival, Vienna Festival, Besançon, Washington, Spoleto, Naples, Stresa, Bregenz Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, December Evening (Swiatoslaw Richter Winterfestival) – Moscow, White Nights – St. Petersburg, Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival – Dubrovnik, and Verbier Festival – Switzerland.
Boris Kuschnir appears with such illustrious partners as Elisabeth Leonskaja, Boris Berezovsky, Leif Ove Andsnes, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Itamar Golan, Stefan Vladar, Elena Bashkirova, Julian Rachlin, Nikolaj Znaider, Maxim Vengerov, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Renaud Capucon, David Garrett, Yuri Bashmet, Gérard Caussé, Nobuko Imai, Lawrence Power, Veronika Hagen, David Carpenter, Mischa Maisky, Boris Pergamenschikow, Natalia Gutman, Miklós Perényi, Steven Isserlis, Gautier Capuçon, Sol Gabetta, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Ivan Monighetti, Hatto Beyerle, Thomas Kakuska and Valentin Erben of Alban Berg Quartet.
Both as soloist and chamber musician Boris Kuschnir made numerous recordings, notably the complete Mozart piano trios for EMI, which were released in the Mozart year 1991. In 1993 he founded the Vienna Brahms Trio which made their highly acclaimed debut at the Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival in Austria. In 1996, the Trio won First Prize at the 9th International Chamber Music Competition in Illzach, France. Their recording of Schumann’s complete works for piano trio was released on the Naxos label in 1999.
He was co-founder of the Kopelman Quartet in 2003 which is giving concerts all over the world and has released CDs at Nimbus Records and Wigmore Hall Live.
In 2008 the President of the Republic of Austria awarded Boris Kuschnir with the “Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria.”
Boris Kuschnir plays a violin made by Antonio Stradivari “La Rouse-Boughton” made in Cremona, 1698. It was given to him as a loan in 1991 by the Austrian National Bank in recognition of his artistic performance and his service rendered to music.