Tatsiana Asheichyk is a musician with a heart-felt mission. The hardworking classical pianist and graduate student will perform Saturday in Medford to help raise money to bring her mother from Belarus to Ashland to hear her graduate recital this summer.
“My mother has never been to the United States,” said Asheichyk. “In Belarus, there is not a great appreciation of music. I am excited for her to see me play in front of a big audience,” she added.
In addition, Asheichyk says, she would like to help her mother receive some much-needed medical treatment. “She’s had some heart troubles and a small stroke,” she said.
Asheichyk is getting her master’s degree in piano and organ at SOU, and will play both instruments at the concerts. She will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at First Presbyterian Church, 85 S. Holly St., Medford. The program will include music by Felix Mendelssohn, Johann Sebastian Bach, Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy and Sergei Prokofiev. While admission is free, this is a fundraiser, says Asheichyk, and donations will be gladly accepted.
Asheichyk has a degree from the School of Music in Minsk, Belarus, and from the Brest State College of Music. She came to Ashland in 2009 after Southern Oregon University piano professor and artist in residence Alexander Tutunov heard her play in Belarus and invited her to study here.
“My mom and I have always been close, but she told me to go to the U.S. and study,” she said. “She is a very brave, loving mother who sacrificed everything so that I can have these opportunities.”
When Asheichyk was 5 years old, her father encouraged her to learn piano. He died when she was 12, and Asheichyk had to stop studying in order to work. Her mother devoted herself to supporting Asheichyk’s dream of playing piano again by taking on extra jobs.
“No one in my family has a background in music, but my mom would tape-record every lesson so I could practice and remember what my teachers told me.”
Asheichyk’s mother currently works three jobs as a housekeeper and earns about a $100 a month. “A plane ticket costs about $1,500 to $2,000,” said Asheichyk. “There is no way she could afford to come the U.S.”
Asheichyk also cannot return home and has not seen her mother in nearly four years. “My visa doesn’t allow it. Belarus is a communist country, and ... I cannot return,” she said. “We speak on Skype, and every time I play piano, I feel her with me,” she added.
Since coming to the States, Asheichyk has won praise for her style, as well as several awards. She’s played throughout this country and Europe, including a performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall as the winner in the American Protégé International Romantic Music Competition.
Both the upcoming fundraising concert and her graduation recital will feature music that Asheichyk says evokes her mother.
“I will be playing Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 1. He is Russian and very strong and passionate like my mother and me. Another piece I chose is Chopin’s ‘Fantasia Opus 66.’ It is my mother’s favorite,” she said, “Though everything I play connects us.”
Asheichyk said she wants the audience to also feel connected during her recital.
“Music brings us together and speaks to us in a way that words can’t,” she said. “I love performing and feeling that connection that we all have.”
For information about the benefit concert, call Daniel Murphy at 541-613-0654. For information about Asheichyk, see www.asheichyk.com.
Reach Ashland freelance writer Angela Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org.