Born and educated in Russia, Mikhail Istomin (Majors 1993) holds a Masters of Music degree from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1986, while still in school he became Principal Cellist of the Chamber Orchestra under Saulus Sondetskis and later joined the orchestra of the Kirov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
In 1987 he became the cellist of the Leningrad Conservatory String Quartet. In the spring of 1989 the group won the Grand Prize in the National Soviet Union Competition of String Quartets. In September of 1989 the Quartet was invited to perform in the United States. At the end of the tour, Mr. Istomin defected and was granted political asylum in the U.S. In 1991 Mr. Istomin became Principal Cellist of the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Orchestras. In 1992 Mr. Istomin joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel.
He is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Piano Trio. Most recently the group released a new recording of chamber music of Frank Bridge.