“I teach them classical music because I’m a classical cellist. I tell you the truth, how they play this kind of music, I cannot play.”
Leonid Rubanchik, who immigrated to Queens from the Soviet Union nearly 40 years ago, talking about his grandsons – cello sensations Emil and Dariel Liakhovetski, who have earned instant fame with their electric cello act on America’s Got Talent.
The teens learned everything they know from their grandfather, who immigrated to Queens from the Soviet Union nearly 40 years ago. He is the only teacher they’ve ever had. Rubanchik began teaching his grandsons the cello when they were each 4 years old.
Rubanchik, after settling in Astoria in 1977, took odd jobs as a waiter and a janitor while pursuing his true passion — the cello. His dedication paid off. Rubanchik became the principal cellist in an orchestra in Venezuela, where he played for eight years.
“It’s been a big dream to see my boys play on stage,” proud gramps Leonid Rubanchik, 77, told the Daily News Saturday. “Sometimes when they’re playing I cry because my heart is being broken.”
The Florida-based Liakhovetski brothers — Emil is 16; Dariel, 14 — are among the 12 finalists fighting for the $1 million first prize. They’ll be appearing Tuesday in a bid to become one of the final six acts.