From Fame to the Seattle Symphony

I am an alumni of the Performing Arts High School class of 1979, an alumni of Manhattan School of Music BM 1984 and MM 1985 and a Fulbright Scholarship Recipient.

When Sir Alan Parker, CBE visited our high school in 1978-79, he took a picture of me practicing violin in the stairwell, which turned out to be an excellent black and white photo. It became the original poster of what was then called Hot Lunch.

Alan Parker told me about his project and invited me for an audition...which I won! I was to have the character of a Russian Violinist (playing myself, surprisingly), but the film was long, and mine was one of several characters that were cut out.

However, I remained on the soundtrack. You can hear me playing the violin in FAME - Sonata for violin and piano by Cesar Frank, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 2nd mvt., and in the final moment of the film when we are all playing in the orchestra, the film ends with a shot of my face.

When it was decided to rename the film to FAME, they redid the poster. I am the violinist with the white head band playing the violin alongside Irene Cara in the Shady Sadie.... Hot Lunch sequence.

It was an amazing experience to work professionally while we were finishing high school and looking forward to further our studies in conservatory and beyond. For me, it was an eye opening experience to see people, who like myself, were totally committed to their art. It reaffirmed my conviction of the path I had chosen in life. It also provided me the opportunity to work with a great director.

Later I worked on the Equalizer (TV show), the first episode of FAME the TV series, and became the very sort of highly accomplished musician/artist that the fictional students of the FAME movie were working to be.

I joined the Seattle Symphony in 1994, have served as the first violinist of the Odeon String Quartet, serving in Residence at Cornish College of the Arts, and am a member of the classical music committee of Pacific NW Chapter of NARAS (Grammy).

Gennady Filimonov
Second Violin 4th Chair, Seattle Symphony
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