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Remembering Victor Danchenko

Remembering Victor Danchenko

Published on November 20, 2020

A distinguished member of the international violin community and a proud member of The Royal Conservatory family, Victor Danchenko will be greatly missed.

Victor Danchenko

The Royal Conservatory community mourns the loss of internationally acclaimed pedagogue, performer, and beloved faculty member, Victor Danchenko. Born in the former Soviet Union in 1937 and emigrated to Canada in 1977, he passed away on November 18, 2020. Students of The Glenn Gould School paid homage to him in this touching tribute.

When Mr. Danchenko first moved to Canada, he taught at The Royal Conservatory for 14 years nurturing some of the Conservatory’s finest students who were part of the special scholarship program at the time. He then moved to the US to teach at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Peabody Conservatory of Music before returning to Canada in the Fall of 2013 and becoming a member of the violin faculty at both The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School and The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. His return to the Conservatory was very emotional for him … he said it felt like coming home.

"The Royal Conservatory was so proud and immensely fortunate to have had Victor as a member of our faculty,” says Dr. Peter Simon, Michael and Sonja Koerner President & CEO of The Royal Conservatory. “He was, without a doubt, one of the most influential violin teachers of our time and had a profound impact on the musical landscape of Canada and the globe. He embodied excellence in teaching and the world may not see a pedagogue of his calibre for years to come.”

Victor Danchenko

Says James Anagnoson, Dean of The Glenn Gould School: “Victor was one of the most influential violin pedagogues of the 20th and 21st centuries, and a valued friend and colleague. He had a profound impact on generations of extraordinary young violinists, many of whom have gone on to distinguished concert careers as soloists, chamber musicians, and members of some of our finest symphony orchestras. Among his successful students are members of the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and many more.”

Notes Barry Shiffman, Director of The Taylor Academy and fellow violinist: “Few people have had such a deep influence on generations of young musicians. Victor Danchenko was a fiercely dedicated teacher and celebrated concert violinist. Having studied at the  Moscow Conservatory with the legendary David Oistrach, he connected us with the great Russian violin tradition, yet was firmly planted in the modern world. I feel very lucky to have had Mr. Danchenko in my life and in the life of The Royal Conservatory.”

Upon joining The Glenn Gould School and The Taylor Academy, Mr. Danchenko expressed gratitude. “To say I am proud is an understatement. I am more than proud to help develop promising and talented students. It is a feeling deep in my heart and soul. To be able to instruct these students and successfully serve a higher purpose, it’s like passing the torch.”

“The best students realize they are connected with a great past, taught by greats, and will continue teaching greats,” he continued. “I consider The Royal Conservatory an alma mater of teaching, and my pedagogical home. I look forward to continuing to bring new standards of performance and education to my students at the Conservatory.”

Two of Mr. Danchenko’s past students reminisced about his impact on their education and careers:

I was most privileged to have studied with Victor Danchenko at The Royal Conservatory during my formative years and I consider him my musical father.
Martin Beaver, former first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet, faculty member at the Colburn School, and RCM alumnus

Mr. Danchenko influenced every aspect of who I am today. He had the highest standards for himself and demanded excellence from me at all times. Although he was tough and exacting, he also expressed tremendous love and dedication to me and all his students, and he taught me what it means to be a good musician not just a good violinist. But most importantly, I will always remember his love for me and all his musical children. I am honored to now have the responsibility to pass along his passion for music and life to the next generation of musicians.

Dennis Kim, concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony and alumnus of The Glenn Gould School

Photo credit: Yu Kai Sun

GGS Students Pay Tribute to Victor Danchenko

Join them, after they have finished their performance, in honouring his memory further.