Accomplished violinist and Liberty teacher shares his family’s plight in Soviet Latvia and plays a special anthem for his Ukrainian neighbors » Liberty News
From his native Latvia to Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University Associate Professor of Music Dr. Yevgeniy Dovgalyuk continues to use his talents for the glory of God, whether on stage or in the classroom.
Dovgalyuk is a world-renowned violinist who has performed at leading concert halls in the United States and Europe, including Latvia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ukraine and Russia. He was a substitute violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra for many years and has performed with some of the world’s greatest artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Gidon Kremer, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, The Gettys, Michael W. Smith , Amy Grant, Martina McBride and many more.
“These are incredible experiences and opportunities,” he said. “World-renowned artists perform in big venues, and many of those gigs have taken place at Capital One Arena in Washington DC. Performing in front of a sold-out crowd is always a big thrill.”
Dovgalyuk is the recipient of numerous performance awards, including Distinguished Principal Violin of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, Assistantship in Ensembles at the University of Maryland, George Mason University Conductor’s Award, among others. He has also been concertmaster with various orchestras throughout his career. In 2017 he was named Principal Violin of the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, a position he still holds today.
Dovgalyuk was born in Latvia in 1980 and immigrated with his parents and three siblings to the United States when he was 11 years old due to oppression from the Soviet Union.
“It was quite an ordeal to get out of the Soviet Union at that time,” he said. “We were able to come out of there with a church and a sponsoring family in the United States. But it was basically my grandfather’s faith and vision that brought us to America in the first place.”
Years earlier, his grandfather refused to renounce Christ and was taken to a concentration camp in Siberia where he was confined to coal mining for 12 years. He was released only after changes at the head of government.
Dovgalyuk still remembers his grandfather’s stories and says they fueled his own spiritual life.
“In my relationship with the Lord, I draw so much from my family’s heritage. It spans generations. It didn’t start with me; it starts with my grandfather. I know what he did and how faithful he was in the face of death. It’s really inspiring for me personally.
Due to the turmoil and uncertainty caused by the breakup of the Soviet Union, Dovgalyuk’s parents wished to raise their children in a country where they would find religious freedom and career opportunities.
Shortly after immigrating to the United States, a new friend of his mother’s, a missionary who happened to be a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, came to their home and heard the children playing their instruments. Soon after, she helped assign them to some of the best music teachers in the area.
At the age of 17, Dovgalyuk became a member of the National Symphony Orchestra and received a scholarship to study music at George Mason University.
“It was amazing how the Lord arranged it,” he said. “I was able to go without taking out a loan and I was able to continue living at home with my parents.”
After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at George Mason, Dovgalyuk earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance from the University of Maryland while continuing to perform with artists and orchestras in the Washington, D.C., area. and along the east coast, mainly. In 2016, while looking for a more consistent job to support his growing family, he came across Liberty, where he was hired as an adjunct teacher teaching applied violin lessons. He traveled to Liberty two days a week and was hired full-time a year later when he moved to Lynchburg with his wife, Kate, and their two children, Misha and Aliya.
Doygaluk continued to play with the National Symphony Orchestra as a backup, often performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
“I love going to play with them,” he said. “Most of them are really my friends now, and I’ve been playing with some of them since 2014.”
One of Dovgalyuk’s favorite memories with the orchestra was somewhat of a foreshadowing of his future with Liberty. In 2014, he joined Michael W. Smith (current director of the Center for Commercial Music at the School of Music) at the Kennedy Center for an evening of worship.
“That memory was and still is so special in my mind. It’s sealed forever in my memory bank,” he said.
Dovgalyuk and Smith have since had the chance to speak when Smith visits campus and teaches students.
“I chatted with him a few times and reminisced with him about that gig,” Dovgalyuk said.
As impressed as he was with Liberty’s excellence in all academic areas, Dovgalyuk said he greatly appreciated the school’s mission to prioritize spiritual well-being as well as advancement. professional.
“Shortly after I arrived at Liberty, I was talking with one of the leaders of the School of Music and I remember him saying to me, ‘Remember, the purpose of Liberty’s mission is is not only to train excellent violinists, but also to Forming Champions for Christsaid Dovgalyuk. “Then he said, ‘You are encouraged to pray with your students and connect with them on a personal level and care for them spiritually.'”
“It’s amazing because I can find out what’s going on in my students’ lives and what they’re comfortable sharing,” he added. “We can pray for these things, including their musical pursuits and other life pursuits.”
Recently, in an effort to raise awareness for those suffering in Ukraine, where some of his relatives reside, Dovgalyuk and some of his students performed “Melody”, by the late Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, on the violin for a video that the School of Music posted on his social media pages. The play was written in 1981 by Skoryk to convey his understanding of tragedy and his deep sadness. It has since become the spiritual anthem of Ukraine.
“It was such a powerful project to work on,” he said. “The students prepared and performed so well.”
Many of Dovgalyuk’s relatives reside in areas of Ukraine that have so far been spared the ongoing brutal Russian invasion.
“My family is unscathed but (Liberty) joins the global community of believers in prayer in this tragic and devastating war,” he said.
Besides classical music like Skoryk’s Anthem, Dovgalyuk also enjoys other genres.
“It’s true that I have a classical education and that I like classical music, he says, but I also like all kinds of genres and one of the main values of the School of Music is diversity. stylistic. I really like it because we have to be able to play different genres to be complete musicians.
In addition to teaching and assisting the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, and making occasional appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Doygalyuk was recently appointed Minister of Music at Core Street United Methodist Church in downtown Lynchburg.
“It also brought a great opportunity to continue learning more about the field of worship music,” he said, “and what worship is and how to engage people…how to share God through music and point them in that direction to him in everything we do.