I started Music of Life in 2003 whilst I was a postgraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, and it gradually took over everything else I was doing.

Born into a musical family in Moscow I was surrounded by music from an early age and took it for granted. I never thought making music was any kind of privilege, for me it was many years of hard work and also a sense of pride that comes with performing on stage and getting recognition from audiences and fellow musicians. Throughout my teenage years and early twenties I was empowered by my professional musical experiences, so I knew very well what music can do to a young person’s confidence, how it helps in times of despair, how it opens your mind and life.

Alongside developing my musical career, I was working with young people for whom the journey of music discovery wasn’t so straightforward. For many years my parents’ charity, “Mir Iskusstva” (“World of Art”), has been helping talented disabled children and young people from across the Russian Federation to study music and perform with some of the most illustrious musicians – from Montserrat Caballe to Cecilia Bartoli, delivering spectacular gala events at some incredible venues such as Vatican and Sochi Paralympic Opening and Closing ceremonies. Taking part in this work during my student years inspired me to conceive a similar organisation in the UK.

As a Chief Executive, I am responsible for Music of Life’s general educational strategy, programmes and partnerships, fundraising and day-to-day project management. I am incredibly lucky to work with many talented and dedicated musicians – our teachers, workshop leaders, accompanists and singers – who are as passionate about making high-quality music education to children with special needs as I am. I also enjoy strong support from the Chair and Trustees and am immensely grateful for their guidance and hands-on approach to running what feels like a small charity with a great vision. We have some amazing volunteers, too, who dedicate their time and skills to help us achieve our aims and open up new opportunities.