Graduated from the Moscow Conservatory where he studied cello and from the Nizhny Novogord Conservatory where he studied the organ. International recognition of his skill as a cellist came when he won prizes at the UNISA International Competition in South Africa and the Gaspar Cassado Competition in Florence. In 1978 he took Third Prize in the VI International Tchaikovsky Competition, in 1990 he took Second Prize in the IX International Tchaikovsky Competition. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1995 to 2004. He is a three-time winner of German's prestigious ECHO Klassik Award for recorded music.