Renowned violinist from the US loses his American licence in Novosibirsk for drunk driving
Novosibirsk traffic police arrested world-famous virtuoso violinist Mikhail Simonyan, who was born in Novosibirsk and lives in the United States, on 11 August for drunk driving. Inspectors confiscated the musician’s American-issued driving licence, Sib.fm’s correspondent discovered on 13 August.
According to Novosibirsk vehicle recovery service AST-54, traffic police inspectors on Sovietskaya Street stopped a Peugeot 406, which was being driven by famous virtuoso violinist and American citizen Mikhail Simonyan, on the night of 11 August. The police officers suspected that the driver was drunk and arrested him.
Simonyan refused to undergo a medical examination. The inspectors confiscated his driving license, which was issued in the state of Pennsylvania. The violinist borrowed the car from famous Novosibirsk restaurateur Denis Ivanov, clarified website Lifenews after publishing a video of the incident filmed by the inspectors. The footage shows Simonyan irresolutely answering the officers’ questions and refusing a medical examination on the advice of his friends.
A representative from the Information Department of the regional traffic police would neither confirm nor deny the report, telling Sib.fm’s correspondent that it «is restricted information, classified as confidential, which is subject to the law on personal data.»
As stated on the Russian National Orchestra website, Simonyan was born in Novosibirsk in 1985, began playing the violin at five years of age and received his first international music award in 1997.
In 1998, he played a solo concert in the U.S. and performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, before making his début at Carnegie Hall in 2000. Simonyan received a «Salon de Virtuosi» grant in 1999 to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Now, the violinist plays solo concerts at the world’s most illustrious venues.