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International duo coming to Selma

By DESIREE TAYLOR

Selma Times-Journal

The sound of music will soon ring in the air.

International successes, Russian-born cellist, Alexei Romanenko and his partner classical pianist Christine Yoshikawa of Canada, will grace the Church Street United Methodist Church stage on Sunday, June 13 at 2 p.m.

Known as the “Romanenko-Yoshikawa Duo”, the pair has been touring since May and will continue their 16-city tour through September 15. Selma marks their fifth stop.

“I’ve lived in Montgomery before,” said Romanenko, who played for the Montgomery Symphony’s Cello Fellowship. “I’ve never been to Selma and since we’re in the area, it’s convenient for us.”

Romanenko, who studied at the Moscow Conservatory, began his cello career at age 6. He won the first-place prize in competition at age 12. Again in 1999 and 2000, he won first prize at the Eightth International Music Competition in Vienna, Austria, and in the Second Web Concert Hall International Auditions.

The chamber musician and solo artist has worked with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and played inside of Carnegie Hall in New York. He noted his experience at both venues as memorable.

“I was excited that it was my turn to perform there”, he said.

Romanenko credited his mother and teachers as his greatest influences.

“I had so many teachers,” he said. “My mom, other family members and my teachers were my inspiration.”

Christine Yoshikawa began piano lessons at the age of 2. She’s earned diplomas from the Western Board and London’s Royal School of Music. Yoshikawa also received a doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance from Arizona State University. In addition, she was selected as one of the top performers in North America out of 6,000 nominees, and named the “International Who’s Who of Professional Artists”.

Both performers have taught at the University of Florida, Arizona State University and the University of British Columbia. They continue to dedicate themselves to bringing new music to a younger generation.

Romanenko said he wants to bring the “message of music” to the city of Selma.

“Music is an international language that everyone can enjoy,” he said.

This concert commemorates the church’s 175th anniversary.

Church Street UMC secretary said the pastor Fred E. Zeigler Jr., was out of town. Zeigler could not be reached for comment.