Yevgeny Kutik, classical violinist
Hometown: Minsk, Belarus (His family moved to the Berkshires when he was 5.)
Think of: A young Itzhak Perlman, whose music has also been a medium for honoring his cultural heritage.
What caught our eye: A YouTube video of his solo performance at the 2012 Holocaust Remembrance Day at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He is on this summer’s Nantucket Musical Arts Society concert schedule, where he will perform July 16. He got his first big break in 2003, with the Boston Pops, as the winner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition.
Biggest thrill: “After I played the Vivaldi ‘Four Seasons’ in Tokyo [in 2009], I was swarmed in the lobby by a huge group of fans with cameras, seeking autographs. It was one of those rare rock-star moments!”
Biggest surprise: “Just how much hard work it takes to make a career in music these days. It’s not enough to be a fantastic player and amazing musician, you have to be an incredible businessman, a master at development, an excellent communicator, and have an iron will.”
Light bulb moment: “The best advice I ever received came after a particularly frustrating lesson with my violin teacher, the late Roman Totenberg. . . . As I was packing up, I launched into a 10-minute tirade about my displeasure with my progress. He just sat there calmly and silently for what must have been several minutes, and then said one word: ‘Listen.’ I was quite disappointed at first that this was all he had to say after I had just poured out my heart and soul. Then one day, several months down the road, I realized just how right he was. If I truly listened to myself, without preconceptions or expectations, the problems and their solutions would all lie right there in front of me.”
Preconcert ritual: “I find that if I keep the day as normal as possible, I will be at my best. . . . Of course, I would never run 10 miles on a concert day, but I never do that anyway.”
What people should know: “First, people are all equal no matter their race, religion, or politics. My family had to abandon our roots because we were Jewish, and I believe no one anywhere in the world should ever have to suffer or leave his or her home because of who they are. Secondly, everyone deserves the chance to have access to great art and music.”
Coming soon: He will be part of the new television series “All-Star Orchestra” set to air this fall on public television.