Arts and Entertainment

Ukrainian violin virtuoso kicks off Federal Way Symphony season | Video of Sergey Suhobrusov performing Beethoven concerto

It’s time to get the "hrosi" out of your piggy bank and start up the old trustful "awtomobil" because the Ukrajins ‘Kyj (Ukranian) is coming to Federal Way.

The Federal Way Symphony announces the third return of Sergey Suhobrusov as the featured guest artist at the Oct. 3 opening concert. The 25-year-old Ukrainian will be playing “Beethoven’s Violin Concerto,” which Ludwig Van Beethoven finished in 1806 and is considered one of the most popular violin concertos ever written.

As a springboard for young international soloists, the Federal Way Symphony is fortunate to have a Russian connection with the Moscow Conservatory and the Bolshoi Opera Company. People in our community regularly keep Maestro Brian A. Davenport advised of new and upcoming talent such as Sergey Suhobrusov, whose music is as glittering as well placed sequins.

Kathy Franklin, co-president of the Symphony, has been a dedicated enthusiast by not only providing her home for Suhobrusov to stay while visiting Federal Way, but also as a mentor to his musical career stateside. Suhobrusov’s music will not only provide a tempestuous spark, but a skillful, pulse-pounding performance with a high measure of grit and heart.

Using his teacher’s borrowed bow and a well-worn violin, Suhobrusov brought Federal Way Symphony concertgoers to their feet several times during the December 2004 holiday concert. Since his battered and beat-up violin was from an old surplus musical instrument store in Moscow, it wouldn’t be suitable for more serious competitions that Suhobrusov must enter to further his career as a soloist.

Upon hearing from Symphony supporters about a young visiting soloist from the Ukraine and his search for a better violin, Hammond and Ashley, one of Seattle’s better known violin stores, jumped into the philanthropic circle and generously donated a competitive violin to Suhobrusov.

Mr. Suhobrusov was a child prodigy and an award-winning violinist beginning when he was 10 years old, and his family sacrificed a lot to get him where he is today.

What makes the Oct. 3 Symphony concert special is the obstacles that Suhobrusov has had to overcome to cement his position as a soloist who has played throughout the Russian Federation and internationally, including the United States, Czech Republic and Sweden.

His family found out early that a prodigious talent could be a passport to an illustrious musical career, but due to a limited parental income, opportunities weren’t readily available in his home country of Ukraine.

Suhobrusov was born to a poor working class musical family in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Kharkiv became the first city in the Ukraine where Soviet power was proclaimed, and after the Soviet collapse, it became a major cultural and educational center. Many struggling families are delegated to send musically gifted students to state sponsored schools rather than the Moscow Conservatory, which is the equivalent to our Juilliard here in the U.S.

Yuriy Mikhlin, the Federal Way Symphony Concert Master, said that “Beethoven’s Violin Concerto” is one of the most difficult pieces a violinist can play. “Sergey embodies the essential joy of music with wholehearted participation — his heart and soul are bound with this joy as he is determined to show it with the world," he said. "He relates with an audience in ways that you can’t learn in a class.”

Check it out

“The Brilliance of the Classical Era” begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, at St. Luke’s Church, 515 S. 312th St., Federal Way. Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors (65 and up). Students 18 and under admitted free. For tickets, call (253) 529-9857 or visit

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