Russian Jewish guitarist
Audio files: (there may be a brief pause after pushing the play button)
Originally from Moscow and now living in the United States, Oleg Timofeyev holds an M.A. in early music performance from the University of Southern California (1993), and a Ph.D. in performance practice from Duke University (1999). He taught himself to play the guitar as a child, supervised by his mother (a professional cellist) and his grandmother (an excellent pianist). From 1981 until 1983, Mr. Timofeyev took guitar lessons from Kamil Frauchi, the most influential guitar teacher in Moscow of the time and the father of the internationally-known guitarist Alexandr Frauchi. Since 1983, Oleg Timofeyev has been performing early music on lute and guitar. In 1989 this interest brought him to the U.S. where he studied with Patrick 0'Brien, James Tyler, and Hopkinson Smith.
Besides his eminent background in Russian guitar music, Timofeyev has been rediscovering his musical Jewish and Gypsy roots. The recipient of several Iowa Arts Council grants to produce recordings and tours of this music, Timofeyev currently performs a program of Russian Jewish music with his mother.
When Timofeyev, a musicologist and guitarist, arrived in Iowa City in 1989, he said he was one of a handful of native Russian speakers in town. That number has been growing dramatically, and there are now more than 200 Russian-speaking families in town, families that hail not only from various cities in Russia itself, but also include Armenians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Moldavians, Belorussians and other nationalities from the former Soviet Union.
In the fall of 2004, Timofeyev and his wife Sabine Gölz, associate professor of comparative literature in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and also a creative photographer, decided to found a nonprofit organization, dedicated to fostering international awareness of Russian culture. Joined by John Reitz, UI professor of law, who has research interests connected to the practice of law in the Russian Federation and is a committed musician and supporter of music, they founded the International Academy for Russian Music, Arts, and Culture. The organization helps foster international visibility of the best of Russian cultural traditions including music, music pedagogy, visual arts, architecture, theater, literature and Russian language.