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Eastman Music School Colleagues Reflect On Life Of Slain Professor

Tatiana Tchekina's friends and colleagues say the music professor touched the hearts of everyone she met.
The Eastman School of Music lost not only a teacher, but also a friend. Tatiana Tchekina's friends and colleagues say the music professor touched the hearts of everyone she met. 

The 69-year-old was a pianist who performed around the world. 

"It's really very, very sad that we don't have her anymore. Of course she is with us but this is a great loss for all of us," Mikhail Kopelman said.

Tatiana's friends and family learned about her death early Saturday morning. Monroe County Sheriff deputies says Thomas Rome, 37, was driving the wrong way on I-490 in Gates when he hit Tatiana's car. They say Rome was unconscious at the scene but smelled of alcohol. Her husband, Eastman violin professor Oleh Krysa, was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital. Friends say she and her husband shared the stage together- inseparable in music and life. 

"Although they were not kids, they acted like kids. They had a youthful enthusiasm for life for their students, for their family; and it's infectious so to be with them in any setting was always wonderful," James VanDemark said.

Tatiana was a good friend, a mentor and a passionate teacher. She was known for her outgoing personality. 

"[I remember] Tatiana telling stories. Tatiana was a very wonderful and animated storyteller, which she would tell of course in her really thick Russian accent," VanDemark said.

"More than 11 years, we were really like a family; very close, so for us we just lost it. So it's very hard to take," Kopelman said.

A private vigil will be held Monday night at the Eastman School of Music. For now the investigation is ongoing. Rome remains in guarded condition at Strong Hospital. Charges have yet to be filed against him. 
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