I can’t do justice in print to any of the many times your wit and humor made me smile. They all require your deep resonating voice with a thick Russian accent for full effect. I would like to share one tidbit, “Of course”. If I had a dollar for every time you replied “of course” I’d be retired living on a beautiful island. Your reply, of course, often left me never really knowing if you were in agreement, placating me, or displaying that playful sarcasm for which you were so well known. Fortunately, the result was always the same, a smile across my face!
Here’s my top 12 list for things I truly loved about Dmitry Volkov
I will treasure the memories of you, dearest Dima. You have forever touched our hearts and will be missed deeply. One of your many second mothers, “Chrisssssss” Daniels
When Dmitry and my granddaughter Marie came to our house, we invited friends in for an informal concert, and were blessed with an outstanding event. At one point, Dmitry played a very technical solo piece that sounded unbelievably difficult to me. I had never heard such an accomplished cellist in my life. I then knew that this man had a very unusual talent. But the next day I found that I could do something better than Dmitry. We went to the golf course and hit golf balls, and since he had never done that, I won.
We miss him.
-M. L. Daniels
“Dmitry’s tenure as Artist-in-Residence at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton Virginia was a masterpiece in and of itself. The demands of the position were high. In one day, he might find himself performing for students in the Staunton city school system, introducing an entire generation to classical performance, only to leave and perform at a lunchtime musicale later in the same day, then hop in his car to drive overnight to a competition three states away the following morning. In all of these roles, Dmitry delivered masterfully. Not once did he level a complaint about the amount of work on his plate, and on a few occasions, had to be held back from volunteering even more of his time to his community at the risk of spreading himself too thin.
For all of Dmitry’s qualities as a performer, he was an even better friend. He would show up at the office on a cold day with a cup of coffee for every member present, or on a hot day with scoops of gelato. On his best friend’s birthday, he arranged for the two of them to jump out of a plane together because he happened to remember that his friend had mentioned going skydiving in passing. If you had a passion, Dmitry encouraged it. If you had a problem, Dmitry listened without passing judgment.
Those who remember Dmitry’s performances will certainly remember his presence and charisma onstage. These qualities were not manufactured, but radiated from every part of his being. He fascinated everyone with his presence, his spirit, his grace and his elegance. We all marveled at his virtuosity with the cello and how he was so friendly to all he met, never aloof.
On his worst day he never fell below the standard of a perfect gentleman.
Dmitry Volkov was nobility without conceit, charisma without vanity, a friend without envy, without question he was the King of the Queen City.”
"I first met Dima in 2008 at the Heifetz Institute. It was his first time to the United States, he made his cello debut performance playing the Piazzolla Tango. I remember very clearly how the 20 year-old seemed nervous as he introduced himself to the audience in broken English, but as soon as sat down with the cello and played the first phrase it was very clear that he had a gift for captivating audiences through incredible musicianship and charisma.
About half way through this six week festival Dima and I became better acquainted. Playing soccer on the beach, searching for constellations in the night sky and teaching Dima how to dance salsa, I soon figured out that that these activities were better described as excuses to spend time together. I thought it would just be a camp fling. Little did I know we would be very close for the next three years.
I had the pleasure of being with Dima during his exciting (and stressful) years of applying and moving to the states to study. It was a difficult process, full of essays, exams and paperwork, which of course for Dima were irrelevant since he just wanted to play cello. But he was driven and committed and, as you know, found great success here. I also had the privilege of visiting him twice in Russia and meeting his whole family whom I immediately love, especially his father Vadim, mother Natalia and younger brother Evgeny.
During these years I learned many things from Dima as a human being and these are a few I would like to share.
One: How to smile. Dima was always one who wanted to cheer people up. If ever I was wearing a frown I would soon hear from him the phrase: "Masha, why aren't you smiling?" Smiles were a requirement.
Two: How to laugh. Dima was a serious musician but also an incredible humorist. Not only was he constantly making jokes in conversation or acting silly, he had a way of infusing his music with laughter (when appropriate) through the most dramatic pauses, spontaneous cadenzas and ridiculous amounts of rubato.
Three: How to love. In addition to his incredible passion for music, Dima knew how to love. I don't say this just because of how he loved me, but rather how he loved his family. Dima showed me through example what it means to care for, support and love family, the people in our lives who can and will love us forever. I admire so much how he always took the time and made the effort to stay connected with them, constantly putting family first even while he was so busy and far away. A few weeks ago, his mother said to me "Dima worked too hard." to which I agreed and could reply "only because he loved too much." Dima followed his dreams because he loved music and he loved his family who supported him. He worked hard to use his talent so that he could give back as much as he could along the way.
Though Dima and I were distant friends for the last couple of years, I always will respect, admire and miss him. His physical heart may have failed him, but his spirit was a shining light which has and will continue to inspire us all. My only consolation is found in the hope that we may smile, and laugh and love in his tradition.
My first love, my first lost. Forever loved, never forgotten."