When I was a little baby girl,older brother used to put me in his violin case while he was practicing. But my music “career” began even earlier than that! I was in my mom’s belly while she was accompanying my brother on the piano, taking in all the piano’s vibrations, getting exposed to the first musical sounds, and learning to love music. At the age of three my mom started ear-training with me and giving me my first piano lessons. At the time, my family was living in the winter wonderland of Moscow, Russia and took me regularly to see ballets. Naturally, I quickly decided I wanted to be a ballerina…but also a violinist!!! I was in love with the sounds of the strings in the music of Tchaikovsky’s ballets, and particularly with the violin solos in his Swan Lake.
My dad finally gave in when I turned seven and he started teaching me how to play the violin. I was ten when I won my first violin competition and got to play Vivaldi’s D Minor Double Concerto as a soloist with my dad’s orchestra in Germany, where we had moved. My very first teaching experience was when my two little sisters grew old enough to hold a violin – I was teaching them how to play our favorite Disney tunes on the violin. After I graduated German high school, I moved to Texas for college and to study with Julia Bushkova. I finished my Bachelor of Music Peformance there, decided I was too hot, moved to Chicago for my Master of Music Performance with Ilya Kaler, decided I was too cold, graduated, and moved back to Texas. I really wanted to study with the amazing Susan Dubois, but she was a viola professor. So for my Doctorate degree I switched to the viola and instantly fell in love with the deeper sound.
Dr. Dubois was such a great teacher of how to make the “fiddle” (as she called it) become part of your body (as opposed to a foreign object that is being held awkwardly); how to let music become an essential part of your everyday life (as opposed to something that somebody composed a long, long time ago); and how to use fun tools to become an effective teacher and mentor myself. I wanted to immediately share and pass on what I was learning from her and started teaching beginner violin and viola at several academies and advanced kids at high schools. When I finished my DMA, I decided I was too hot again in Texas and moved up here to Michigan where my husband, a music theory professor, got a job. If he’s not working and I’m not teaching, practicing, or playing musicals, and chamber music, we can be found exploring the Michigan woods and nature with our two doggies – Zuka, a husky, and Bobbi, a black labrador. I am really excited to meet new students at Expressions, to pass on my knowledge of how to make music&absolutely love it, and to share my experience of playing all kinds of music styles – classical, rock, jazz, country, mariachi, and many more – ON THE FIDDLE!