Cellist who premiered works by Schnittke, Sculthorpe and Brett Dean passes away at 65.

Cellist, writer and musicologist Alexander Ivashkin passed away on January 31 at the early age of 65.

Born in Blagoveschensk, Russia in 1948 ,Ivashkin began his musical education at the Gnessins Special School of Music for gifted students at the age of five, playing both piano and cello.

It was at the advice of Mstislav Rostropovich that Ivashkin decided on an international performance career. Ivashkin worked alongside the likes of John Cage, George Crumb, Penderecki, Pärt, Rodion Shchedrin and Gabriel Prokofiev. He was also no stranger to our shores, having worked with Australian composers Peter Sculthorpe and Brett Dean. Collaborations such as these meant that he rapidly developed an international reputation as a keen advocate of contemporary music.

In 2008 he gave the world premiere of Penderecki’s revised version of the Largo for Cello and Orchestrawith the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Penderecki himself conducting. As soloist and conductor with the City of Saratov State Philharmonic Orchestra, he gave the world premiere of the orchestral version of Schnittke’s Cantus Perpetuusin November 2011.

In one of his final major appearances, in May of last year Ivaskin gave the...