Timofei Dokschitzer: Trumpeter of the Century

Timofei Dokschitzer: Trumpeter of the Century

In 2021, concerts dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Timofei Alexandrovich Dokschitzer will be held in almost all opera theaters and philharmonic halls of Russia. Thanks to him, brass instruments became real soloists in orchestras, and critics unanimously put Dokschitzer on a par with great Paganini.

One child orchestra

Timofei Dokschitzer was born in a small Ukrainian town. His father was playing in a brass band, his mother was raising five children. They lived poorly: in winter, the kids couldn’t even go outside together, as they didn’t have enough warm clothes. Little Timofei played the role of an "orchestra" for local children, imitating the sounds of different musical instruments. 

In 1932, the family moved to Moscow and lived there practically as refugees.  Parents sent Timofei to a cavalry regiment to be brought up in their orchestra, where he began to play the trumpet and learned to perform on stage.

“Music is victory”

In 1939, Timofei Dokschitzer was in Mongolia: during the war with the Japanese, concerts were given every day. Once, their ensemble even came under fire by Japanese bombers. 

From 1941 to 1945, he worked in the orchestra of the Moscow District Military Headquarters. According to his recollections, some did not attach much importance to music in the war. But you should've seen their faces when the brass band began to play! Even strangers cried and hugged, saying: “Music! It means life, it means it's not all over, and the victory is upon us!”

The main theater in the country

In December 1945, at the age of 24, Timofei Alexandrovich joined the orchestra of the country's main theater: 

“I was happy at the Bolshoi Theater, I experienced genuine respect for myself and recognition of my work from colleagues and bosses.”

He devoted 38 years to the Bolshoi. Dokschitzer is the only orchestral musician in the history of this theater whose 60th birthday was celebrated on the main stage. 

Timofei Alexandrovich often performed on Soviet radio, television, and recorded albums. There are hundreds of recordings and footage left, and they are still popular today. 

In the 1960-80s, Dokschitzer toured almost the whole world. In the concerts, he often played music that wasn’t originally written for the trumpet. 


For over 30 years, Dokschitzer taught students of the State Music and Pedagogical Institute named after Gnesins and raised a galaxy of excellent trumpeters. In the 1950s, when it was forbidden in the country to work several jobs, many talented performers quit teaching. But not Timofei Alexandrovich: he and several other colleagues taught at that time for free.

 Until now, performing trumpeters recall the years of cooperation with Dokschitzer with gratitude. He taught them not only music, but also stage skills, life, work and respect.  

“Music is life”

In the late 1980s, the Dokschitzer family moved to Vilnius. He worked till the end of his life: he set the best classical works for the trumpet, gave master classes, was on the jury of many international competitions.

 Concluding his autobiography - the book A Trumpeter on Horseback - Timofei Alexandrovich wrote: 

"I realized that happiness and the meaning of life are in these two substances: accumulation of knowledge and its transfer to a new generation.” 

Timofei Dokschitzer died in March 2005 and was buried in the Donskoy Cemetery in Moscow.