As bullets tore through flesh, fires raged and black smoke eclipsed the sky, Maxim Kuzin knew it was time to leave his home of Kiev, Ukraine.
The latest conductor to lead the Orange Coast College Symphony was born and raised in the capital city of the Eastern European country. From a young age, Kuzin, 41, displayed a superior voice and good ear, signaling a heightened musical aptitude.
His aunt Olha Shevchuk recognized his abilities and urged the cultivation of his talents.
He was enrolled in a special music school, the Lysenko Kyiv Boarding School for Gifted Children, one of three such schools in the country.
Kuzin later attained an undergraduate degree in...