Born in Riga, Latvia, he began his studies at the E. Darzin Music School. Considered a student with exceptional talent, at the age of 14 he continued his studies with the illustrious Russian masters Yuri Yankelevich and Zinaida Gilels and under Leonid Kogan at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1975 he won first prize at the Sibelius competition in Helsinki and in 1978 he won both the first prize at the Paganini competition in Genoa and the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow. From then on he played with the best orchestras in the world. It was directed by Mariss Jansons, Gennady Rozhdesvensky, Voldemar Nelson, Mark Wigglesworth and Maxim Shostakovich. He has played in the United States, Canada, Australia and all over Europe. He lives in the Netherlands and is a professor at the Amsterdam Conservatory. He plays a Pietro Guarnieri violin from 1740 which belonged to Wieniawski.