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Noted, above all, for his hallmark "polystylistic" idiom, Schnittke has written in a wide range of genres and styles. His
Concerto Grosso No. 1
(1977) was one of the first works to bring his name to prominence. It was popularized by Gidon Kremer, a tireless proponent of his music. Many of Schnittke's works have been inspired by Kremer and other prominent performers, including Yury Bashmet, Natalia Gutman, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Mstislav Rostropovich. Schnittke first came to America in 1988 for the "Making Music Together" Festival in Boston and the American premiere of
Symphony No. 1
by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He came again in 1991 when Carnegie Hall commissioned
Concerto Grosso No. 5
for the Cleveland Orchestra as part of its Centennial Festival, and again in 1994 for the world premiere of his
Symphony No. 7
by the New York Philharmonic and the American premiere of his
Symphony No. 6
by the National Symphony.
In 1985, Schnittke suffered the first of a series of serious strokes. Despite his physical frailty, however, Schnittke suffered no loss of creative imagination, individuality or productivity. Beginning in 1990, Schnittke resided in Hamburg, maintaining dual German-Russian citizenship. He died, after suffering another stroke, on 3 August 1998 in Hamburg.