On the afternoon of March 16, 2005, the great Ukrainian trumpet soloist, Timofei Alexandrovich Dokshizer, passed away. Dokshizer’s ancestors originally came from Dokshizi (White Russia), settling in Nezhin (Ukraine) in the late 18th or early 19th century. Timofei was born there on December 13, 1921. His family moved to Moscow in 1932. There he attended the military band school of the 62nd cavalry regiment and the Glazunov Music College (1932-35), where his teacher was Ivan Vasilevsky, as well as the preparatory institutions for the Moscow Conservatory (1935-39) and the Gnesin Institute (1939-41), where his teacher was Mikhail Tabakov. After wartime military service he studied under Tabakov at the Moscow Conservatory and the Gnesin Institute, becoming Tabakov’s assistant during 1950-54. From 1951 to 1957 he also studied conducting under L. Ginsburg at the Moscow Conservatory.
From 1945 to 1984, Timofei Dokshizer was cornet soloist (mostly on trumpet) in the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra. When he received independent status in 1954, he enjoyed a prestigious status on the same level as David Oistrakh and Mstislav Rostropovich. It was during this period that he was designated the “People’s Artist of Russia” by the Soviet government. Besides his activities as a soloist, Dokshizer conducted opera performances at the Bolshoi for a number of years. As a teacher he was active at the Gnesin Institute, beginning in 1954 and ending when he moved to Vilnius (Lithuania) in 1990. He chose Vilnius because it was the home of his second wife, Monna and also because of difficulties stemming from increased political and religious persecution.
Dokshizer’s first instruments were trumpets with rotary valves and a rotary-valved cornet by Alexander, which he gave to the Bad Säckingen Trumpet Museum in 1990. His first LP recording, with virtuoso pieces for cornet and piano, was made on that cornet. He later played on B-flat trumpets by Selmer and Benge (the latter a gift from Russian-born Vladimir Drucker, first trumpeter of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and occasionally a Schilke C trumpet.
As a soloist and orchestra member, master teacher, and juror in international competitions, Dokshizer was in demand all over the world, with many visits to the USA, Western Europe, and Japan. His distinctive repertoire of more than 100 pieces consisted in later years entirely of his own transcriptions, including significant pieces such as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Shostakovich’s Concerto for Trumpet and Piano. Among his many publications, his trumpet method (published in 1990 by Leduc) and his Memoirs (published in 1997 by the ITG) deserve special mention.
It is amazing enough that Timofei Dokshizer always performed in an impassioned way, with a large dynamic range, but it is even more amazing that he continued to perform and record even after quadruple bypass heart surgery in April of 1989. He had an uncanny ability to regain top form within days after a long pause of weeks or even months. His entire life was devoted to music. On a personal level, he vividly exemplified old-fashioned values such as courtesy and modesty. Timofei Alexandrovich Dokshizer will be sorely missed.
The memorial service for Mr. Dokshizer took place on Friday 18th March in Vilnus.
The funeral service took place on the morning of Tuesday, March 22nd in Moscow. Contact information is at the family's site (please see link at foot of page).
ITG members may like to know that the following tribute was read out at the Moscow service:
The International Trumpet Guild, through the undersigned members of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, send our deepest sympathies to the family of Timofei Alexandrovich Dokshizer
The Officers, Board of Directors, the Guild's membership, and the music world as a whole are saddened at the loss of Timofei. However, his teaching, his artistry, spirit, and the miracle of his musical gift remain with all of us as his honored legacy. We have all been touched by Timofei Dokshizer's glorious trumpet. He will be missed, but Mr. Dokshizer will be carried in our hearts forever.
With our best and sincere regards,
The International Trumpet Guild
A full article, with more detail, photos, tributes and recollections, will be in the June edition of the ITG Journal.
Timofei Dokshizer - the Dokshizer family site (in Russian and English)
Source: Edward H. Tarr, Anna Dokshizer, ITG