Viktor Sumerkin passes

The trombone world is saddened to learn about the passing of the renowned trombonist Victor Sumerkin.

Victor Sumerkin was born on January 3, 1933, in the village of Volkovo, Tver Region, in a simple working-class family. In 1945, in post-war Leningrad, he saw Sun Valley Serenade, and the film determined his fate. He decided to become a trombonist like Glenn Miller. He began learning at the Leningrad Palace of Pioneers. In those days, many children wanted to learn to play brass instruments. Then he was enrolled to a music college, where he was taught by Gershkovich (Pyotr Volkov’s student) who gave the young man the basic skills. After graduating from college in 1952, he became a student of the Leningrad Conservatory in Korshunov’s class and graduated brilliantly in 1957. Then there was a postgraduate course supervised by Mikhail Buyanovsky (Vitaly Buyanovsky’s father), which he completed in 1963. Immediately after graduating from the Conservatory, he won several competitions: Leningrad competition, all-Union competition and international one in Moscow, where he had the second prize. Victor Sumerkin’s performing activity started with the Mariinsky Orchestra in 1957, and then, from 1959, for 30 years he played with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. As its musician, Viktor Sumerkin played all solos in various symphonic and opera works led by outstanding conductors of the time. In recognition of his performing skills, many Soviet and foreign composers dedicated their concerts and compositions to Victor Sumerkin, including A. Nesterov, V. Uspensky, O. Khromushin, O. Oblov, A. Kotienko, D. Uber. Victor Sumerkin successfully combined his performing work with teaching, having started in 1956 at a music college. His distinguishing features were his deep practical experience and his wide knowledge in the matters of methodology and pedagogics, the richness and diversity of the repertoire which he used to teach his students. His students participate in numerous concerts, seminars and competitions. The evidence of the great results of Victor Sumerkin’s work is that starting from 1963, his students become laureates and winners in many competition in which they participated in. Today, his students play in many leading orchestras in Russia and all over the world. Along with practical activities, Victor Sumerkin engaged in intense research and methodological work. He made a significant contribution to the development of pedagogics and methodology. He is the author of books A course of Trombone Playing, Trombone, as well as a large number of articles, which appeared in Russian and foreign publishing houses.

For his pedagogical achievements, Victor Sumerkin received a prestigious award from ITA (International Trombone Association) in 2003.

For his contribution to Russian music, Victor Sumerkin was awarded the honorary title of People’s artist of Russia. He was also awarded medals For Valorous Labour, Veteran of Labor, the Order of Honor and a Badge of Honor.Victor Sumerkin passed away on May 12, 2019.

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