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Additional languages spoken: Russian, Ukrainian
Alexander Vavilov’s love for chamber music developed during his teens, when his social and musical worlds intertwined as he crammed a few friends into his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, to read Shostakovich quartets. These sessions, which became a regular occurrence, and his habit of deciphering chamber scores at the piano in the absence of access to recordings, led him to forge his path as a violist and a passionate chamber musician all the way across the Atlantic. Once on U.S. soil, Alexander honed his skills under the tutelage of Patricia McCarty and, later, Kim Kashkashian, earning various awards and distinctions along the way, such as the 1st prize in ASTA with MSOA competition for string players, a finalist at ASTA national solo competition, and a finalist at the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra concerto competition. His chamber music world never far behind, Alex expanded it vigorously at Tanglewood, Sarasota, Meadowmount and Bowdoin festivals among others. With chamber music tutelage by such renowned figures as James Buswell, Bonnie Hampton, Kim Kashkashian, Patricia McCarty, Rhonda Rider, Joseph Silverstein, Mark Sokol and Roger Tapping, Alexander’s voice as a violist and an ensemble player started to get noticed as he won guest artist awards resulting in chamber music performances alongside luminaries such as James Buswell, Ronald Leonard, Barbara Westphal and the Borromeo Quartet.
Today Alexander’s schedule is happily filled with dozens of chamber music performances as a founding member of Sheffield Chamber Players and a core member of Ensemble/Parallax. He has performed with a variety of other chamber groups in the Boston area and was invited to perform at the 150th anniversary of the Boston Conservatory gala at Symphony Hall. The sound of his viola has often filled the spaces of Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall and others, and can also be heard on the Carl Fischer and BMOP/sound recording labels. As an orchestra musician, Alexander regularly performs with Odyssey Opera, Portland Symphony, BMOP and Boston Pops, and was a principal violist of Atlantic Symphony for 8 years. He is also on the faculty at Winchester Community Music School.
“I think the ultimate gift of music is that it makes us more sensitive and aware. It helps us to better understand the complex world we live in, make sense of it and enjoy living in it. All of this is not easy to comprehend if you are in the beginning of this path struggling to keep your bow moving in a straight line or to put your fingers in just the right place on the fingerboard, just like I was in my time. However I believe the real gifts of musical education, whether you chose to pursue this path or not, come later. As you practice, or are made to practice (like I was) every day, you learn that rewards only come after continuous effort, which might seem futile in the beginning – an important lesson to apply everywhere in life. You don’t teach yourself to just play the violin, you teach yourself work ethics – what it takes to create and achieve something in life.”
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