Dmytro Choni: “To perform in Ukraine is important for me”

He was born in Kyiv and began studying music at 4 years old. He graduated from the Lysenko Music Boarding School and the National Academy of Music of Ukraine. He is studying at the University of Music and Theater in Graz (Austria). In 2018, he received the First Prize of the International Piano Competition in Los Angeles (USA) and won the Paloma O’Shea International Competition in Santander (Spain), and in early 2019 he won the gold medal and the First Prize of The 9th Bösendorfer USASU International Piano Competition (USA). As a soloist, he performed with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Republic of San Marino, the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.

“My mom always dreamed about playing violin, but for various reasons, she could not fulfill her dream, so she sent her all four children to a music school. Everyone received a basic education, but I went further along the musical path and chose music as my profession.

I am currently studying in Graz. The University was chosen solely because of the teacher, since the most important thing for the performer during training is his teacher. In 2011, I met Milana Chernyavskaya at the master class in Liechtenstein, after that I came to her intensive course several times. I was very interested in learning from her and a few years later I enrolled in her class at the University of Graz.

In my opinion, a disadvantage of our national education is that it is too dispersed, we teach many subjects at once and our students are quite overloaded, whereas in Europe the training is focused on your specialty and most of the subjects are related to music. During childhood years, the child should be guided, but when becoming a student, I think, one should have a little more freedom.

Now I have a manager, because I won the International Competition in Santander in summer, and the winners are offered a list of concerts. This list also suggests more performances, and that is my manager’s job. She will work with me for another three years, until the next competition. Therefore, my task now is to do everything possible so that after these several years my concert life is developed further.

My schedule is quite intense, and my friends are also pretty busy people, but sometimes we meet in Kyiv and in Graz. I come to Kyiv every six months, sometimes more often. I recently calculated that I was on the road for about five months out of twelve over the past year. Training takes place along with the performances, although sometimes you have to take some crazy flights in order to do everything.

It is important for me to perform in Ukraine, and I was glad when my first solo concert took place at the National Philharmonic Society a year ago. It was wonderful, an audience in Kyiv was very warm. But performances in Ukraine are largely dependent on the organizers of the concerts, so I would like to see their interest in my performances there, it should be a mutual process.

Music is the center of my life, the center of my every day. Music is not only emotions for listeners, these are emotions for me personally, as well as an exchange of energy, it is a kind of dependence. At the same time, music is accompanied by daily work that requires full commitment and concentration. But in general, it brings me joy and peace of mind. If I am on the road, for example, and I can’t devote even a couple of hours to music, I feel that something is changing inside me.

My main goal is to perform on stage. It may sound simple, but it is not so easy to achieve. This year I have scheduled more than 25 concerts. I strive to have a constant string of concerts and do my best to achieve this goal.

Dmytro Choni – participant of the VERE MUSIC FUND grant program.

Clothes and shoes of the Ukrainian brands: cotton and elastane suit, SONYA MONINA; cotton T-shirt, Syndicate Clothing; leather sneakers, Ali Saulidi.

People who worked on this project:

Photographer: Jamila Di.

Editor: Natalia Vasura.

Stylists: Ania Honcharova, Anastasia Yatsenko.

Hairstyles: Lyuda Agakhanova, Anastacia Leonova.

Makeup: Natalia Vasilieva, Anastacia Leonova.

Producer: Diana Melnikova.

Lighting Director: Dima Romas.

Assistants of the photographer: Denis Gruba, Olga Kruglova.

Assistant Stylist: Nicole Vachuku.