Written by Julian G.
Edited by Mel Williams
I was born and raised in Ukraine in the city of Donetsk. It’s a lovely city in the east of the country, an industrial giant and a Cultural Centre. Unfortunately, it has been going through some tough times lately. I’ve spent 30 years of my life in Donetsk, and this is where I gained my skill qualifications and mastered my craft. It’s hard to say when I decided to become a musician. It seems like I was always certain that was the path I wanted to take. I remember how excited I was when I got my first violin. I could barely fall asleep that night, so excited I was to try and play. It took me a while till I got a hang of it and I started playing much more confidently.
There are no musicians in my family, and the decision to start my musical training was made by my grandmother. She was never involved in music but was a big admirer and supporter. Throughout my music career my mother was my biggest inspiration and my toughest critic. She is a professional photographer and has an eye for perfection.
“Music was and always will be a big part of me and my life, my way of communication with the world .”
The biggest progress was made during my years at the Music Academy, and I will be forever grateful to my teachers and masters. Soviet Violin school is considered to be one of the best in the world, and I am happy to be a part of it. I graduated from the S. Prokofiev’s Music Academy in 2009 and in 2014 I finished my internship at the music department. I am fully qualified to teach and mentor at the academy, but currently, I prefer to perform myself. I am also a representative of the Donetsk Violin school, and I’ve mastered all the steps, progressing into an internship at the music department of the Music Academy in my hometown.
“Music was and always will be a big part of me and my life, my way of communication with the world.” I do have quite a few hobbies. I love photography, literature, traveling. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them, experiencing new cultures (of course music goes without saying).
Currently, I am a part of the Sky Breeze Trio on board the Carnival Paradise. This is definitely a new professional adventure and a valuable experience for me. I am the lead violinist; Olena is the second violin and Viktoria plays the viola. We are all professional musicians, and we have been brought together by the passion and love for what we do. We came together, produced a demo and were offered a possibility to work for Carnival Cruise Lines. This is a great opportunity, and I must admit – working with Carnival is great! The atmosphere is amazing, and the audiences always charge us up!
It was impossible to make myself practice for extended periods of time at first. If we go way back to my 7-year-old self, it wasn’t as easy as it is now. Later, when I started attending the Music Academy, it would take me an average of 5 to 6 hours daily. Our teachers and mentors always strived for perfection and those hours were justified (well maybe not always, but most of the time). If we come back to the present day, the time I spend practicing differs depending on the projects I am involved in. When I was preparing for my graduation performance (I played Violin Concert by S. Prokofiev, Preludes by D. Shostakovich and Sonate by E. Ysaye, quite difficult pieces), I practiced for around 8-10 hours daily. Currently, we have an extensive program of 20 sets that we perform on board the Carnival cruise ship. It includes both classical and modern music from the last decade. Even though we perform almost every night, I still practice for a few hours additionally, just to keep myself in shape.
I believe there is always room for improvement and you have to always strive to achieve more and be better in what you do. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to meet the great masters of the present day yet, but I follow their progress, watch their performances and read interviews. I’ve noticed one common thing between all of them – they love what they do, they don’t treat music like a ‘job’ but more like a way of life.
“I came to realize that the best way to become a great musician is to find music within yourself and not try to squeeze yourself into music.”
There are people that I consider to be a beacon or a reference point, if you will. One that I definitely consider to be a role model and an inspiration is Gidon Kremer. He embodies everything I love in music – a unique way of thinking, a unique view on the music he performs. He makes any piece his own and he sees something that no one else before him saw. Not only is he a phenomenal violinist, but he also brings philosophy into his music. He is an amazing, genuine musician. Every time I listen to him perform, it almost feels like I’m having a personal conversation with him.
My biggest pool of inspiration are the people, the audience. Nothing is greater than feeling the emotions coming back to you from the crowd. It gives you an amazing boost of power, and it emphasizes your drive and fuels your performance. People feel and absorb the energy you give out and give it back to you multiplied by 10. This is far superior to any treasure, and moments like that make the long hours of practice and preparation, lack of sleep and an aching back all worth it! It also gives me strength to carry on, develop new projects and become better at what I do. I also draw inspiration and new emotions in art and literature. I am a big admirer of Vincent Van Gogh – the energy that comes from his art is surreal.
What I enjoy most about sharing my music? Well, to be honest, it’s the same as my inspiration. It’s that invisible connection that you establish with the audience through your music. When you make them forget about their troubles, and guide them to a different world, where they can relax and rejuvenate. It is visible in their eyes; music touches the heart, and a lot of people have come forward to thank me for making them feel better. I hope that after my performance people become more at ease with themselves and that I can help them through a rough time. Music can make it bearable, make it easier to live through or just make your day brighter in general.
I believe that music can make the world a better place. Music is beyond politics, music is beyond conflicts. Time heals the physical wounds, but music is the remedy for the wounds of the soul and mind within us, both as individuals and a society. You just need to make the time to listen, not just hear, and most of all – enjoy.
As long as music makes us smile, and we can sing or hum along – there is hope.
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