I was born in Ukraine to my father Peter and mother Lyubov on May 22nd 1988. I was the third child with 2 older brothers, and a year later I would have a younger sister. When I was only 1 1/2 years old, my father gathered up the family and we moved to America. At first we lived in Sacramento with my relatives who came before us, but them my father found a job in the Bay Area and we moved away from everyone else. In Hayward, me and my sister were the only Russian-speaking students in our elementary school. My dad missed his family because everyone lived in Sacramento, and would visit them quite often. I remember driving back and forth on the two-hour trip all the time. Eventually, my father opened up his own business and we moved back to Sacramento. His business was moderately successful and he provided for his family very well.
When I was fourteen a friend of my fathers, Sergey Leschuk, came to America from Ukraine. He was a musician and he needed a job. My father offered to pay him to teach piano to me and my sister. When I had my very first lesson with him I got inspired to be a musician for the rest of my life. That inspiration has never left me to this day. I practiced a lot, often times about 5 hours a day – both piano and singing. Sergey was more a vocalist than a pianist and did not hesitate to teach me about singing.
When I turned fifteen, the Teen Choir in our church was on the verge of falling apart because the previous conductor said that he could no longer manage it. I offered to take over. I was only a year older than the oldest choir member. It was my first experience organizing and conducting a choir.
When I turned seventeen I began studying violin. I had a really good friend, Vadim Demchuk, who played in our church orchestra, and I really wanted to play with him. So I got a part-time summer job and earned $240. I bought myself a violin and started practicing with minimal guidance from Vadim. However, practicing without a teacher is not advisable and I ended up with some terrible habits. That’s when I found a good teacher started to study with Aleksandra Sokolova. She really helped me straighten out my bad habits. The reconstruction of my hand posture proved to be quite difficult, but somehow I managed to get through it.
After I finished high school, I studied with Dr. Joe Gilman at American River College. He was a fabulous musician who really inspired me to become a good teacher in the future. Not only did he have wonderful skills on the piano, he was an entertaining and successful instructor. I spent a wonderful two years with him. During this time I also took chamber singing and concert choir with Dr. Ralph Hughes. I sang with him for about two years. A year after I finished American River College, Dr. Hughes recommended me to Gethsemane Lutheran Church where he used to be a choral director. I started working there as the Music Director in December 2009. During that time I also became the Youth Choir Director at Missionary Gospel Church.
After American River I studied with Dr. Lorna Peters at Sacramento State University. She opened my eyes to proper practicing methods and advanced techniques, such as visualization and weight control. She also helped me understand the difficulties of performance and how to work through them. I also studied conducting with Dr. Ronald Kendrik. He introduced a different angle of conducting a choir and helped me bring my conducting to a higher level which was evident as I began to organize bigger concerts with my choirs.
In the beginning of 2011 I began courting my wife Anastasia. She was from Belarus and was studying to be an English Major. We would take long walks together along the river. She inspired me to write my Piano Fantasy Op. 4. On July 7th, 2012, we were married. A year later on August 19th, we had our first baby girl, Annabel Grace.
In 2013 I graduated from CSUS with a BM in Piano Performance. Soon afterward I was hired to teach at Brookfield School and at Folsom Piano Academy. Since then I have begun working on a series of practice books that I am hoping with help students learn their piano pieces much faster.