A Q&A with Dr. Ruslan Baiazitov

Jun 18, 2024Neesha Hosein
Dr. Ruslan Baiazitov
Dr. Ruslan Baiazitov

Dr. Ruslan Baiazitov joined San Jac's music department at the Central Campus in January 2022. He's wanted to be a music teacher since childhood and managed to accomplish that and much more. Now, he has a new milestone to share.

Q: Tell us a little about your education and background. 

A: I began my musical studies in my native Kazakhstan. I am a graduate of Kazan State Conservatory in Russia. I was invited to continue my education at Musik und Kunst Privat Universität der Stadt Wien in Austria where I received my masters degree in 2015. I completed my postgraduate studies at the prestigious Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. I was fortunate to study with Klaus Sticken, Thomas Kreuzberger, Evgueni Sinaisky, and Boris Kuschnir. I continued my education in the U.S. at Baylor University as a piano and composition major with Krassimira Jordan and Dr. Scott McAllister. In 2022, I completed my Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance and symphonic conducting at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. At UH, I studied with Tali Morgulis, Timothy Hester, and Franz Anton Krager.

Q: Describe what you do for the College.

A: During my career at San Jacinto College, I have been teaching class piano, private piano lessons, music appreciation, fundamentals of music, sight singing and ear training 1, theory 1, and directing the string ensemble.

Q: What is the best part of your job here?

A: I enjoy teaching and communicating with students. My colleagues are very supportive, which makes me feel comfortable and inspires me to practice piano. 

Q: What inspired you to choose this career path?

A: Since my childhood, I have always wanted to be a music teacher. The role of a teacher is extremely important because they prepare the next generation of professionals. I believe teachers not only share their knowledge but also kindness. This is an especially important mission for educators. My grandmother, who taught high school math for around 33 years, has greatly influenced my life. While mathematics and music might appear unrelated, they have a deep and interconnected relationship that spans centuries. This link is not accidental; mathematics is integral to music, influencing everything from the structure of musical scales to the physics behind an instrument's sound. 

Q: Please share your story about the new CD and what makes it unique.

Dr. Ruslan Baiazitov

A: During my years of education, I had the privilege of meeting great professionals who had recorded large collections of musical works by a single composer. These encounters served as a profound source of inspiration. When I began practicing Frédéric Chopin’s 24 Etudes, op. 10 and op. 25, I became intrigued by the idea of exploring piano techniques, which would enhance my teaching skills. After dedicating time to practice, I ventured into performing several recitals featuring Chopins etudes. Eventually, I recorded a CD. Interestingly, I hadn't initially contemplated performing these etudes publicly or recording them. Our department chair, Lynne Brandt, supported my CD project by arranging for me to perform a recital at San Jac. It's so important to have professionals like professor Brandt in my life who love music and understand all the challenges of the artistic process. Additionally, Amanda Watson, a representative from Steinway, along with Steinway Piano Gallery Houston, supported my project by offering a superb venue and a grand piano for the final recording. 

The 24 Etudes proved to be the most challenging program I've ever undertaken. Practicing such a demanding repertoire requires immense energy and robust health. To meet these challenges head-on, I incorporated regular gym sessions and worked with a personal coach. Engaging in exercises not only benefitted me physically but also mentally, aiding me in tackling the demands of this program. This approach was inspired by actors who undergo physical transformations for new roles, whether it's gaining muscle mass, shedding weight, or altering their physique. Similarly, I recognized the need to undergo a transformation for mastering the new piano program. 

I personally consider Chopin to be one of the greatest piano teachers. While practicing his etudes, I felt as though Chopin himself was instructing me in piano technique. His etudes consistently presented technical challenges that required considerable wrist involvement and hand stretching for me. Each etude possessed its own distinct character, demanding emotional and artistic expression. 

Teaching music appreciation classes at San Jacinto College served as inspiration for crafting visuals for the etudes, especially considering that most students in these classes are non-musicians. I utilized video recordings of my performances combined with AI-generated illustrations for my music appreciation classes. According to students’ feedback, those illustrations helped them to understand the ideas of musical compositions. Dr. Dmitrii Merzlikin had experience using AI, and we collaborated closely to produce these illustrations. 

Q: Is this your first CD, and how did it feel to release it?

A: This is my second CD. I recorded my first CD in Vienna, Austria. Additionally, I have produced an album featuring my own compositions, which can be found online on platforms such as Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, and many others. Releasing this CD was a moment of happiness. While it involved a lot of work, the results were worth it. 

My music can be found on: 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0rFTDPQEK6XczS81jIJzNL

Amazon: https://music.amazon.com/artists/B09ZLPJ8ZT/ruslan-baiazitov

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAAHDQpTc0c&t=107s

CDs can be ordered through eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/364890806001

Q: Who are your musical influences or favorite composers?

A: I don't have a favorite composer. Almost every composer has both excellent pieces and those that are not as well composed. I am drawn to classical, romantic, and baroque music.

Q: Outside of work/career endeavors, what do you do for fun?

A: I enjoy going to the gym for fun. Exercising helps me to relieve stress and work more productively. I also enjoy traveling and composing music.

Q: What keeps you motivated in all that you do?

A: My motivation lies in becoming a teacher who can help students achieve their goals and inspire them. I believe hard work is essential, and I encourage my students to strive for success. I aspire to be a role model for my students in their professional endeavors.

Q: Can you share one of your life’s defining moments?

A: Moving to the USA was one of the defining moments of my life. I met many wonderful people who supported and inspired me to work hard and become a better person.


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