Nikita Tumanov, A Rising Star In The BC Conservatory Of Music

Courtesy of Nikita Tumanov

By Paulina Gajewski


   The influx of students interested in the arts at Brooklyn College keeps a steady flow of endless perspectives and new creative outlets on campus. Exhibits and performances, in which artists may display an arrangement of their skills and passions, are kept alive by the hard work and dedication of such students. Nikita Tumanov, a junior at BC and an integral member of the BC Jazz Ensemble, shares his testimony to the importance of music in one’s life.

   Every semester, Tumanov performs with the Jazz Ensemble, directed by Ronnie Burrage, an American drummer who also taught at BC in the past. Jazz, with its swing and blue notes, polyrhythms, and harmonically syncopated melodies, is no simple feat. Its affinity for improvisation allows Tumanov and other jazz musicians to play around with and form new tunes. This then allows them to participate in the Composer Concerts, which the BC Conservatory of Music puts on to showcase original music. Tumanov and his colleagues have formed a jazz trio which plays in various shows throughout the semester.

   Tumanov is also a classically trained pianist whose heart lies in playing solo. This passion is exhibited in his shows at the various “Afternoons at the Piano” concerts that the school holds. “It has been the greatest pleasure to participate in the concerts alongside other pianists,” Tumanov told The Vanguard. “Performing and sharing music is really what makes you get better as a musician.” Tumanov and his jazz ensemble have also played in shows around the city.

   Most musicians begin practicing at a young age, which can easily discourage some people from such crafts. Tumanov had not touched a keyboard until he was 18, a point at which he felt it was too late to start playing.

   “What attracted me to the world of music is the endless capacity of the human soul that music can possess,” he said. However, Tumanov noted that this is also one of the challenges he faces because other musicians his age are already beyond well-experienced and have a solid foundation for their careers.

   For most musicians, performing on stage provides the most beneficial experience. Tumanov describes a performance as a relationship between the artist and the audience. He gets to take part in the experience of serving the art and the power of it to the audience, and receiving energy from those listening.

   Tumanov highlighted that his greatest inspiration comes from all around him, whether it be from people, places, or new experiences. His piano mentor, Jeffrey Biegel, reworks the way Tumanov thinks about his craft from a philosophical point of view. Tumanov also provided Alexandra Lewis, the deputy director of graduate studies for the Conservatory of Music, as a staunch inspiration for professionalism.

   “And the biggest mentor for me,” Tumanov said, “is the stage. It’s the place where you can rely on yourself, learn about yourself. It tests your instincts.”

   A significant portion of preparing for live shows is simply by practicing. Most musicians at BC are meant to utilize practice rooms. Since his freshman year, Tumanov has witnessed clear changes in the Conservatory. When he first entered BC, Conservatory students were using the Buchwald Theater and the practice rooms in the Tow Center. Since the building was placed under new management, students have been able to use the building less and less.

   Tumanov shared that his weakness and his strength are one in the same, and both have to do with his work ethic. His work ethic allows him to excel in his craft, but at the cost of becoming easily burnt out. Though he believes a quiet, undisturbed space is integral to his practice sessions, he also enjoys practicing while being surrounded by like minds.

   “The best part of playing music,” Tumanov said, “is the ability to share your heart with other people.”

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