Sergei Kvitko’s career is as diverse as it is successful. His appearances as a pianist, although rare, generate excitement and critical acclaim. A voting member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (GRAMMY), he is a much sought-after recording engineer and producer. As a composer he gathered multiple awards for his incidental music for the productions of Steven Dietz’s Dracula and Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. In addition, for the last 15 years Mr. Kvitko has been the organist of the First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Lansing, Michigan.
A computer audio wizard, Mr. Kvitko has produced and engineered CDs for such labels as Goldenrod, Naxos, Fleur de Son, Crystal Records, Albany, Toccata Classics (UK), DUX (Poland), Scene-a Music (Japan) as well as over 65 titles for his own independent label Blue Griffin.
Fanfare Magazine noted that “his... recordings have been widely praised for their rich and natural sound as a result of Kvitko’s perfectionist engineering standards.” American Record Guide applauded Blue Griffin label as “a consistent stream of exceptionally enjoyable recordings,” and Gramophone Magazine praised it as a “…high quality young label.” In one of the reviews on Classics Today Jed Distler noted that “The lifelike, vibrant engineering typifies Blue Griffin's usual high sonic standards.” Many of the CDs that Mr. Kvitko produced and engineered earned praises such as “superbly well recorded” (International Record Guide, UK), “vividly detailed, vibrant sonics” (Gramophone, UK), “the recording is close to ideal – rich, but clear, truthful and immediate” (American Record Guide), “larger-than-life recording that sounds fabulous at virtually any volume level” (Strings Magazine) “warm and immediate sound” (The Strad). In one of the reviews Fanfare Magazine, while praising the recorded sound, notes that it was produced by “Sergei Kvitko, a fine pianist himself, and one of the best in the business.”
In 2007 Sergei had the honor of being invited as one of the panelists of the Classical Recording Workshop of the TapeOpCon 2007, a national recording conference in Tucson, AZ, sharing the panel with legendary producers George Massenburg and Conrad Strauss.
Mr. Kvitko's piano engagements range from solo concerts, lecture-recitals, and appearances with orchestras to accompaniment and collaborative work. Among many others, the highlights of these engagements include performance of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Rhapsody with Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra; accompanying participants at The World Saxophone Congress in Montreal, Quebec; world premiere performances of contemporary compositions on tour with the acclaimed Canadian mezzo-soprano Patricia Green; lecture-recital on Shostakovich's piano music as part of Shostakovich Festival at the University of Western Ontario. In The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax, Nova Scotia) article headlined "Russian Pianist Dazzles St. Mary's Audience" Stephen Pedersen praised his "warm, round sound... luminous touch... plenty of brilliance" stating that "Kvitko played everything with a natural, appealing musicality and sensual understanding of piano tone."
In 2008 Blue Griffin released Mr. Kvitko’s self-engineered and self-produced solo piano CD “Of Lands and People Far Away” to critical acclaim. American Record Guide placed his performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition “among the best ever made,” and included it in Critics’ Choice 2008 List as one of the best recordings of the year, alongside such luminary classical superstars as Placido Domingo, Herbert von Karajan, Marta Argerich and others. Fanfare Magazine praised his “masterful, intuitive playing... arresting artistry... an iconoclastic sense for rubato rhythm and phrasing.”
In 2010 Mr. Kvitko released his second recording: “Debussy’s The Toy Box and Poulenc’s The Story of Babar” with narrator Ken Beachler. The duo performed the program to sold-out houses and high praise from audiences and critics.
Sergei is very active in many of the area's theater productions, each year earning awards for "Best Sound Design" and "Best Original Music." The Dracula CD, his biggest success so far, was praised by critics for being "gorgeous and frightening", "clearly a major composition", and "film quality score." Lawrence Cosentino of City Pulse wrote: "Kvitko wove a borderline insane level of care and sophistication into every bar of his score even when you can barely hear it." Fanfare Magazine called it “a well conceived, executed, and imaginative score… entertaining, powerful, witty,” and noted its “terrific verve, sweeping orchestration.”
Sergei Kvitko was born in Russia and began studying music at the age of six. After receiving the highest musical education there, he came to the United States to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University, where he studied with Ralph Votapek. In his first year at MSU he won the school’s two most prestigious contests: The Honors Competition and The Catherine Herrick Cobb Scholarship Competition, the latter of which earned him the etching of his name into a golden plaque at the entrance to MSU’s College of Music.