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Nikolai Svishev

About Nikolai Svishev

Born in eastern Siberia, Nikolai was introduced to the guitar at the age of 9 by a neighbor who was a professional musician. From there he intuitively taught himself how to play the guitar. At 17, he moved to Novosibirsk, the third-largest city in Russia. A cultural and scientific center in Russia, Nikolai supported himself by playing in restaurants and clubs throughout the city while attending the Technical University. It was not until Nikolai almost graduated with a degree in engineering that he realized that he wanted to pursue a career as a musician.

In his early twenties he began playing with The State Philharmonic, touring with famous musicians in the Soviet Union. From this experience he began creating his own musical projects with influence by American jazz and Brazilian music. Nikolai went on to study at Novosibirsk Music College and Kemerovo University of Arts, where he received a Master of Art Degree in Music with Concentration in Jazz Guitar.

Upon graduation he played extensively with the Siberian Jazz Band and Siberian Jazz Project throughout Finland, Germany, Sweden and France. After meeting great contemporary gypsy guitarists such as Angelo Debarre, Bireli Lagrene and Jimmy Rosenberg, Nikolai fell in love with gypsy jazz. Returning to Russia from touring in the early nineties, he started developing his own project using the contemporary jazz language influenced by Django Reinhardt and Brazilian Jazz Music.

Nikolai was one of the first Russian guitarists to play this musical style which is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world. After a few recordings and appearances on the National TV, Nikolai's trio was invited to attend the International Jazz Convention in Chicago. While in the United States, Nikolai was fortunate to meet famous guitarists such as Chet Atkins, who twice invited him to visit him and play at his annual Chet Atkins Musicians Day. There Nikolai shared the stage with the best guitarists from the world, such as Mr. Atkins himself, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, and others.

It was with the personal help of Chet Atkins, Harold Bradley, and The Russian/American Cultural Foundation Corporation that Nikolai received his United States Residency as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability. Nikolai's credits include both film and television soundtracks in Russian, Europe and the United States. In Europe he has performed at The 30th International Jazz Festival of Finland, The Dresden Jazz Festival in Germany, and The St. Petersburg Jazz Festival in Russia. In the United States he has appeared at The Chicago Jazz Convention, Chet Atkins Musician Days in Nashville, Tennessee, and Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

In recent years, Nikolai has spent time completing postgraduate work in classical guitar performance with Professor Christopher Berg at The University of South Carolina. With his musical background and variety of musical styles, Nikolai is in high demand for corporate events, weddings, receptions, local hotels and convention centers. He can be found playing throughout Charleston and the surrounding areas.

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