Konstantin "Kostia" Efimov
Konstantin Efimov was born in 1958 in St. Petersburg, Russia, the son of stage and movie actors. As a child, Kostia displayed a tremendous interest in music. At age 4, he learned to play hundreds of Russian folk songs. By 7, Kostia was accepted into a special music preparatory school of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. For the next 11 years, each day involved four to six hours of piano practice. At 18, Kostia entered the famed St. Petersburg Conservatory. Here he met and studied under Vladimir Nielsen, one of the last great masters of Russian Romanticism. He completed his Conservatory studies in 1982 with advanced graduate degrees in concert (solo) pianist, pianist for chamber ensemble, accompanist, and piano teacher. Following graduation, Kostia performed throughout Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia as a soloist, with orchestras, with ethnic ensembles and his own jazz-fusion group. Friends introduced him to Oscar Peterson, and modern jazz and progressive rock bands. "It was very different, extremely energetic, and absolutely spontaneous, like myself. I am definitely a free spirit, and playing this music allowed me a certain level of freedom that I wasn’t able to explore in classical music.”
Kostia started composing and arranging music for movies, documentaries and theatrical productions. He freelanced as an arranger, working on a number of soundtracks for the various stage productions. His skills as a performer led him to work with some of the well-established Russian composers, and a number of Soviet pop stars. During a visit to the United States in 1989 Kostia had an opportunity to perform for his first American audience at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where he shared the stage with Narada artist David Lanz. That day changed Kostia’s life forever. The next morning he received a call from Narada records offering him a recording contract. From 1989 until 1997, Kostia worked extensively on various Narada projects as a performer, arranger and producer, including David Arkenstone’s Grammy-nominated In the Wake of the Wind, and Narada’s most celebrated recording, Nutcracker. Kostia’s music appeared on more than a dozen of Narada’s collections and compilation albums. In 1992, Kostia and David Arkenstone collaborated on the first album ever endorsed by the United States Olympic Committee, Spirit of Olympia. In 1994, Narada released Kostia’s first piano solo album Suite St. Petersburg, which he describes as “a piano portrait of my beloved city.” 1996 brought another critically acclaimed piano album, Ten Pebbles, where Kostia revisits some of his most cherished memories. Both albums won him respect and recognition of his fellow musicians and the love of fans around the world.
Beginning in 1997, Kostia started a series of recordings with North Sound Music Group dedicated to piano idols of pop music. That year, he released Kostia’s Interpretations of Billy Joel followed by Kostia’s Interpretations of Elton John in 1998. The success of these projects led to a number of tribute recordings completed with world renowned instrumentalists such as Daryl Stuermer, guitarist from Genesis and Phil Collins Band; Paul McCandless, Windham Hill artist and reed and saxophone player from the band Oregon; and Windham Hill guitarist, Alex De Grassi. In 1999, Kostia composed the soundtrack for the motion picture Czar of Make Believe from Italian director Daniel Alegi, which won an award for Best Short Film at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
In 2001, Kostia released Piano Ocean, an album of original music recorded in collaboration with ex-Narada star Spencer Brewer. At the same time, he composed the soundtracks for a Russian motion picture, The Play in the Modern Style, and a short film of Alex Boguslavsky entitled Blue Lamp. In addition to collaborations with well-established music groups and individual artists, Kostia has had his music performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, the internationally famed Veronica String Quartet, and Present Music cellist, Paul Gemainder, to name a few.