Roosevelt flute performance diploma major Anastasiya Ganzenko has been playing the same flute since the third grade.
A native of Ukraine, she received it at the age of eight as winner of her first international competition in Wroclaw, Poland. From there, the Eastern European wind instrument became a constant companion, helping the student flute player, who is 25 years of age today, to win 17 Ukrainian and international competitions.
She played the instrument for the president of Austria, as well as for the prime minister of Kuwait. She relied on it at solo performances in her hometown of Lviv, in Canada, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Belarus as well as other places.
She even brought that same flute to the United States and Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts where her prize-winning ways have continued.
Most recently, she won a $7,500 grant at the Union League Club of Chicago as Luminarts Cultural Foundation’s Classical Music Fellow.
She also won CCPA’s 2019 Aeolian Classics Emerging Artist award. The honor paves the way for her to perform as a soloist throughout Chicagoland and affords her the opportunity to make a professional CD of her own music on the Aeolian Classics label. She hopes this will be a major step toward her ultimate goal of becoming a famous flute soloist in America.
“I knew the United States was a country of big opportunities, and I’ve always dreamed of becoming a famous artist here,” said Ganzenko, who hopes to apply her prize money toward the purchase of a new professional flute, which is estimated to cost around $55,000, after she graduates from Roosevelt in May.
“It is difficult to come from Eastern Europe and establish yourself as a musician here in the United States,” remarked Richard Graef, assistant principal flute for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Ganzenko’s teacher at CCPA since 2016.
Particularly difficult is the mountain flute players must climb as Ganzenko has done while competing against pianists, cellists and other musicians whose repertoire can be more expansive than flute repertoire, he said.
“She’s done it playing the flute she brought from Ukraine, which is actually a pretty good instrument, but which definitely has an Eastern European sound,” he added. “Anastasiya is one of the best and most outstanding talents I’ve encountered in my teaching career,” said Graef, who currently teaches at both Roosevelt and Northwestern universities.
“This is a student I believe can make it in this country as a flute player. She is very much on her way to doing it, and I think when she is able to get a better flute that she is really going to soar,” he said.