Toronto’s music community has been dealt a devastating blow Friday with the sudden death of 41-year-old Toronto-based virtuoso accordionist, Alexander Sevastian.
Sevastian died suddenly on Friday, February 16, 2018, while on tour in Mexico with Quartetto Gelato. He had been a member of the group since 2002.
Sevastian was a renowned artist (accordion, piano, bandoneon), who won four International Accordion Competitions: the Oslofjord in Norway (1998), The Cup of the North in Russia (2000), the Anthony Galla-Rini Accordion Competition in the U.S.A. (2001) and The Coupe Mondiale in the U.S.A. (2007). Born in Minsk, Belarus, he attended the Glinka Musical College (Minsk), and pursued advanced studies at the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters in Performance degree in 2002, studying with renowned performer and pedagogue, Friedrich Lips.
Alexander Sevastian began his professional career in Moscow in 1996, performing with the Russian Radio Orchestra, which he toured with as a soloist throughout Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Highlights of his career include appearances in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Glinka Capella Hall (St.Petersburg), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Minato Mirai Hall (Yokohama), Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto), Jack Singer Hall (Calgary) and Metropolitan Museum (New York). Recent solo engagements include recitals in Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, U.S.A. and Canada as well as appearances with many North American symphony orchestras.
Sevastian and his family moved to Canada in April 2001. After joining Quartetto Gelato in 2002, he completed the Advanced Certificate in Performance program at the University of Toronto where he studied with Joseph Macerollo.
In April of 2008, Sevastian made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Peter Oundjian, playing the Malcolm Forsyth Accordion Concerto at the New Creations Festival, which he then performed with the orchestra on their 2009 tour of Eastern Canada.
Alex is survived by his wife Anya, their children Vladimir and Maria, his brother Vitali and his mother Nadya.