A retracing of the musical events and influences in Sergei Novikov's life illuminates and confirms the experience and pleasure of listening to this unique international composer/performer. Though he now plays piano exclusively, his early training encompassed several instruments and stages of development, like many other musicians, and which in Sergei helps to understand his arrival, through many stages of exlporation and experimentation, at his blend of classical-jazz-folk idioms.
At age six, Sergei began his studies on the three-stringed balalaika. His proficiency and determined attitude led his parents to enroll him in the Moscow School of Art, where he was introduced to the bayan, a concertina-accordion, with the buttons on the right side. Perhaps Sergei's dexterity and aptitude with that small keyboard was such a display of finger control, or for another reason he can't recall, he switched to piano at age 7 1/2 and made rapid progress throughout the remainder of his training at the school.
In his teens, Sergei traveled throughout Russia with a band, a period in which he extended his understanding and skill in arranging, put to use in his own American concerts and on his CD releases.
Sergei came to America in 1990, and shortly thereafter enrolled in the University of Maine at Augusta, where he concentrated on American jazz studies. Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie stand out in his memory as exerting significant influence on his appreciation of this genre, though he did not abandon his earlier interests. He strongly credits the variety of styles he has studied with helping him towards greater choices in his performing life, as well as towards the synthesis of these forms in his composing life.