My whole life was coloured by music. Music has been around me since the day I was born and immediately become an integral part of my life.
I was born in a small town in Eastern Europe, and raised by a single mother. When I was first born my mother was in the process of completing her bachelor’s degree in music. Her fellow classmates often times would babysit me in the hallways of her lectures, while she attended her classes. I had grown up in an environment so rich in music that I truly had no choice but to become a musician! I started to study piano at the early age of 5, and by the age of 9 I picked up the guitar, and I never was able to put the instrument down again. Guitar became my first love, greatest passion, and largest tool for self-expression.
The war in Transnistria had reached its peak in 1993. At the time, I was still studying at the music college to get my bachelor’s degree and taking my exams, all the while seeing death and sorrow around me. I lost two classmates to this war, music, and guitar more specifically remained my constant outlet throughout this trying time.
In 1995, I made my way to Russia. I moved to Moscow, to continue my music education, where I studied double bass at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. I was fortunate to perform with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra on famous stages, such as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, with world-renowned conductors Yevgeny Svetlanov and Antonio de Almeida. Despite my success musically, struggles to afford my rent, and even to feed myself at times seemed almost impossible. During these times, I was still studying guitar and I eventually pursued my career as a solo guitarist.
From 1995 to 1998, I struggled to find work. Settling as a magazine salesman at a subway station, it was hard to believe my dreams of playing guitar professionally seemed like a distant memory. Working 16 hours a day for very little money, I did what I had to do to survive, but my soul was broken because of this.
After the 1998 Russian financial crisis, my wife and I finally decided to chase our dreams across the world, in the hopes of better opportunities and financial success. After a two-year long process and many obstacles, we arrived in Canada on March 11th, 2001. Knowing no one, we landed at Pearson Airport with nothing but our determination for a better life, and a little bit of faith. We landed at the Pearson Airport knowing absolutely nobody in the foreign country, but full of plans and hope for a better life.
Our transition into Canada, however, much like our life in Russia was not always easy. With little knowledge of the language we scraped all our money together and managed to rent a small apartment. Finding a job proved difficult, so I began attending school to study English, cutting costs by walking to and from school every day. One hour in each direction. Within two months I had landed a job at a gas station. My days now consisted of English school from 9am-3pm and work from 4pm-11pm. 7 days a week, for the next four and a half years.
A successful life in Canada was not an option without learning English and having a job, however, neither was my dream to pursue a career as a musician. So, I finally found a way to combine my love for music, and need to work in order to support myself. I became a passionate and dedicated teacher at Pianos Plus School of Music teaching guitar, as well as Meadow Green Academy as a music teacher. During this time, I taught over 500 students over the course of 15 years. Watching the passion and love for music in the eyes of my students motivated me to be the best teacher I could be for them.
But I still felt I could do more. Wanting to create an environment where children could discover the world of music, my vision extended beyond the boundaries of a single class. This was a time for me to step out of the classroom, and take over, and grow the school that I had worked in for 15 years. This became my new mission.
I strongly believe that every child is talented and has the ability to play a musical instrument, including children with disabilities. I believe that every child on the planet deserves musical education, and a chance to experience the joy musical education can bring a person. Music was one of the leading motivators and reasons for joy in my life. For that reason, I will always encourage musical education, and all the wonderful experience that comes with being a musician, to others.
Our mission today is to change our world. To make our world a better place by growing a generation of musically educated, loving, caring individuals. With open minds and hearts, and great souls who will pass on their knowledge to future generations, our world will undoubtedly become a better place.