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violin/viola lessons with

Yuri Djachenko

in Brisbane

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Yuri Djachenko is a professional violinist/violist and is a highly experienced teacher of the violin and viola.  He has taught students at all levels from beginner to Undergraduate.  As a teacher of beginner violinists using Géza Szilvay's Colourstrings methodology, Yuri is acknowledged in many countries as being one of the leading second-generation practitioners in the world.  In Australia, many leading music educators hold his work in high regard, having witnessed the work of his students at Academic and Professional Association conferences in all mainland capitals apart from Adelaide and Darwin.

Yuri specialises in working with children of all abilities and helping them harness their talents to achieve high artistic and musical standards.  He is also skilled in assisting established violin students especially those who may not have been taught systematically.  These students are encouraged and inspired in such a way that they also become able to develop excellent musicianship and achieve a high level of artistic skill on the violin and/or viola.

In terms of AMEB and other examination systems, Yuri is cautiously circumspect about entering his students to sit exams.  However, when they do, their results are nearly always A or A+, with only 2 students from the 1990s gaining a B+, one a B and none less.  In recent years, 100% of students who have auditioned for the Queensland Youth Orchestra have been successful.  Similarly every student who has applied for entry to Brisbane State High School over the years has achieved successful entry to Year 8.  While Yuri has provided the sequential guidance, all of these exam, audition and school application successes have also been due to much hard work on the part of the students, and good support from their families and the wider student family community. 

Working entirely in private practice, Yuri is based at St Lucia where he teaches three days a week.  He also has studios in Manly, Holland Park, and Eight Mile Plains, and operates one afternoon per week in each of these locations.  His services are in high demand, with students having travelled from as far as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Cleveland, Upper Brookfield and Ipswich.  As such, it needs to be understood that new students are not necessarily able to be offered their preferred weekly time-slot.  Lessons are conducted on a 1:1 basis, initially for 30 minutes each week during term-time.  As students progress, the lesson duration is extended, initially to 40min (at Colourstrings Book B level), then 45min (at Book C level) then 60minutes (at Book D level), either as a single block or more preferably two x 30min lessons.  As according to the Colourstrings philosophy, the weekly individual lesson is augmented with regular group or ensemble sessions with children at a similar developmental stage - these take place on Saturdays.  At the Book C and D level, it is also desirable for students to have short regular sessions with a pianist to develop their skills in playing repertoire with piano accompaniment.  Yuri's wife Sally-Ann is the Colourstrings Australia in-house accompanist, although occasionally other leading accompanists are used including Kathy Sander and Christian Gante.  Pianist parents of other students also provide some accompanying services.  Chamber music (duos, trios quartets) forms an important part of students' musical training.  During most Saturday term-time afternoons a weekly mini-concert is held, whereby students at all levels are able to perform repertoire they have been practising and rehearsing. 

Contact Yuri

Postal Address PO Box 4011, St Lucia QLD 4067, Australia
Telephone +61 (0) 7 3371 6394
Mobile +61 (0) 437 535 705
www lessons


Yuri Djachenko was born in Brisbane in 1969 to a British-Estonian descended mother and a German-Ukrainian descended father.  At age 6, Yuri began learning piano and violin, and was fortunate to have some good teachers.  His first piano teacher was John Skippen (based in Paris since 1977) and later piano studies were with Betty Vergara-Pink (now retired after many years as professor of piano at the Freiburg Hochschule).  Early violin studies were with Anne Comiskey (latterly Associate Professor in Ear Training at Hartford University, Connecticut) and later with Peter Coombes (formerly of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and now in Newcastle, NSW).  As an undergraduate student, Yuri maintained his interest in the violin, but the piano was replaced with the viola.  He studied violin and viola at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level with Tor Fromyhr, Lyndal Edmiston and the late Jan Sedivka, and at Masters level with Spiros Rantos.

Yuri holds undergraduate and post-graduate Diplomas from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music Griffith University and a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Queensland, where he also researched English Bowmakers.  He continues to consult privately to individuals, violin dealers, and insurance companies around the world on matters relating to bows.  A book on English bows and their makers is in preparation for publication in New York.

During the 1990s, Yuri held violin and viola teaching appointments in Queensland with the Queensland Conservatorium of Music as well as at numerous private schools including Forest Lake College, Somerset College and Somerville House. He was also employed by the Queensland Education Department to teach the violin in schools, and on moving to the UK in 1999, he worked in a similar capacity for the London Borough of Hillingdon.

While in London, Yuri was employed by two major Music Publishing companies, Peters Edition and Boosey & Hawkes in their retail/marketing departments.  This experience proved invaluable in gaining a detailed understanding of how the music publishing industry works, and particularly how 19th century traditions coped with and adapted to the 21st century.  Yuri later moved to Edinburgh and was offered a teaching position based in St Andrews, Fife (the ancient home of Golf), before transferring south again to take up the full-time permanent position as Head of Strings for the Berkshire Young Musicians' Trust in Windsor.

During a visit to Finland in August 2004 to help negotiate an ultimately successful publishing agreement between Géza Szilvay and Fennica Gehrman, Yuri was invited to be the resident violinist at the Kuhmo Music Institute during 2004-05.  Although his main duties were teaching the violin/viola and directing student string and chamber ensembles in one of the world's most famous chamber music towns, he was also Artistic Director of the XI Prima Nota International Festival for Children’s String Orchestras in January 2005.  Yuri also worked as a Music Examiner in the Association of Finnish Music Schools examination system.

Since returning to Australia in July 2005, Yuri taught in the pre-tertiary programmes at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music Griffith University, and at the University of Southern Queensland before leaving to concentrate on his own substantial private teaching practice.  His beginner students are becoming known for their excellence nationally, and in Singapore, Japan, the UK and Finland. Since 2008, Yuri and his students have received numerous invitations to give presentations at tertiary music institutions (Qld & Sydney Conservatoria, and the Australian National University) and for professional associations (Australian String Teachers Association in Brisbane, Canberra and Perth; the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia in Melbourne and Sydney, and at the International Kodály Society’s 2010 Symposium in Brisbane).

As a Director of Colourstrings Australia, Yuri regularly engages in collaboration with leading Australian Colourstrings teachers including David Banney, Celia Egerton, Judy Fromyhr and Helen Holt.  Since 1999, he has made ten visits to East Helsinki to work and observe Géza and Csaba Szilvay and their team.  Yuri is widely acknowledged by his peers locally and overseas as one of the foremost second generation Colourstrings teachers.  When Colourstrings founder, Géza Szilvay visited Australia in 2010, after giving lessons to all of Yuri’s students he afterwards declared that “Yuri has NO bad students” and compared their standard with that of the best teachers in East Helsinki.  In 2011, Yuri was awarded an honorary Colourstrings Teacher Training Certificate for his services in developing excellence in Colourstrings Teaching over the past 20 years. 

Over the years, a number of Yuri’s former students have continued their studies at tertiary level at the following institutions:

·        Australia:  Queensland Conservatorium of Music Griffith University, University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, Australian National University, University of Tasmania

·         UK:  Royal College of Music, Chichester University

·         France:  Sorbonne

·         Sweden:  Stockholm Conservatory

·         Finland: Oulu University, Sibelius Academy.

A greater number have chosen different academic disciplines – nearly all continue to play the violin and/or viola as competent amateurs.

As a professional violinist/violist, Yuri has performed as a member of the former Queensland Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, including their chamber ensemble Strings Etc. With these groups he has broadcast on ABC-FM and made a number of recordings.  Yuri has also worked throughout the UK on a freelance basis with many orchestras, chamber orchestras and ensembles.  In Finland, he was Concertmaster of the Lentua Sinfonietta.  More recently, Yuri has acted as Concertmaster of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra and played violin and viola in Brisbane’s Camerata of St Johns.  He has played in 16 countries, including every State and Territory in Australia.  Yuri believes very strongly that instrument teachers should maintain professional performing activity.

He is married to Scottish violinist Sally-Ann Djachenko, and they have two young children. 

© Colourstrings Australia, 2012