Member since 2006
Hometown: Almaty, Kazakhstan
My major musical influence was my late father. He was a huge impact on my life. He was a very famous musician in Kazakhstan who played a folk instrument called the dombra. He was an iconic figure, and left a huge legacy of music—he composed over 300 pieces—including audio and video recordings and books. I’m trying to collect some of his music this year and possibly transcribe some for the violin. I want to honor his memory and his musicianship, and say thank you. Who I am today I owe to my father.
One can never get tired of Bach, especially with the fast-paced life that we live today. I think Bach’s music is becoming more and more alive, and almost necessary to keep some kind of balance and stay grounded. And when you play Bach, it’s a good way to check your level of musicianship and artistry.
Advice for aspiring musicians:
Playing in the orchestra can be viewed as a joy or a job, but it’s wise to make it a joyful job. Remember that no job ever really employs you completely; we all must love what we do, and no job is worth doing for money alone. Here at the San Francisco Symphony, I feel that the musicians project beautiful artistry and uplift so many spirits. That’s an important mission, so we should always keep in mind, especially for young musicians, that it’s not just a job, you must really love what you do.
On being in the Orchestra:
The SFS musicians deliver the most exquisite performances; they stay so focused, and are so highly aware of one another. When you are surrounded by that energy, your own playing improves. When I went back to Kazakhstan people complimented me on my playing. I have to thank my colleagues for that.