Violinist teaches, shares musical spirit at Ramstein Community Center

Story and photo by Angie Kipp
Ramstein Community Center

Did you know that you can play or learn how to play violin for free at the Ramstein Community Center?

The violin instructor, Alexandra Panchina, has toured the world as a violinist in a prestigious orchestra and has a distinguished pedigree, having trained under preeminent classical violinists.

Her training began at the age of six, when she studied under Yampolski at a special musical school in Kiev. She moved to a St. Petersburg conservatory at age 14, where her tutelage was overseen by some impressive figures, including Boris Gutnikov, a virtuoso who had achieved world renown as a violinist by the time he was 30. Her teachers had also studied at the knee of Leopold Auer, a famous violin professor who left Russia for New York one year before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

“I was very lucky to study in the same classroom as Auer and his students,” said Panchina. After finishing her formal education, Panchina found work with a small chamber ensemble that traveled around Russia.

“We played a big repertoire – from Bach to modern music, and we played from memory without sheet music,” she said. “It was very good practice for me.”
Two years later, she moved on to bigger challenges. Following the birth of her daughter, she joined the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and began traveling the world. As her career progressed, she performed in places like Carnegie Hall, and made friends with people like Mstislav Rostropovich, who conducted the Washington Symphony and was arguably the best cellist in the world. She also began taking on students of her own.

Now, Panchina lives in Kaiserslautern, teaching at a German music school and playing with the Mannheim Symphony Orchestra. As part of her passion for teaching music, she instructs the American Violin Ensemble at Ramstein. “I’m very enthusiastic about ensembles,” said Panchina. “My goal is to show children and adults how to present music, to play together and to be responsible for their own instrument.”  Under Panchina’s watchful eye, the group learns to play the different pieces inherent in ensemble music.

The American Violin Ensemble is open to students of all ages and abilities and is offered free of charge every Monday evening from 6:45-7:45 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at the Ramstein Community Annex, Bldg. 411. Panchina, who speaks fluent English, says the most international language of all is music, and she is grateful for the opportunity to inspire others’ musical dreams at Ramstein.

On April 28, Panchina and her piano accompanist are scheduled to perform at the Spring Chamber Concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Ramstein Community Center. Enjoy selected masterpieces of classical music from composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Luigi Massenet, Ernest Bloch, Niccolo Paganini and more. For further information, contact the Ramstein Community Center at 480-6600 or 06371-47-6600.