Beloved music instructor passes away at 55

A+collage+of+photos+show+the+life+and+career+of+Igor+Grigoriev.+Grigoriev+was+a+music+instructor+at+Cerritos+who+passed+away+Sept.+25+at+the+age+of+55

Courtesy of Kimia Grigoriev

A collage of photos show the life and career of Igor Grigoriev. Grigoriev was a music instructor at Cerritos who passed away Sept. 25 at the age of 55

Michelle Moreno

Cerritos College Music instructor, Igor Grigoriev, passed away on September 25. The cause for his death was an unexpected massive heart attack.

Igor Grigoriev was a devoted musician and teacher, who lived for the passion of music. Born in Moscow, Russia, Grigoriev was brought up by his mother and his grandparents.

 At a young age, he was interested in art and music. He taught himself to play the guitar and had a natural talent to play music.

He completed his masters in music in Moscow and then dedicated his entire life to the excel of learning, playing and composing in music.

Grigoriev was happily married to his wife, Kimia Grigoriev, for three years, with a one year-old daughter named Dayra. They where expecting another child that is to be born in five months.

“He was really excited about our new baby on the way, and he kept telling me, ‘It’s going to be a boy,’ and I would ask him, ‘How do you know?’ He would tell me, ‘I just know, I have a feeling.’

“We were counting down until the next week. When he passed, it was the time for my ultrasound, and I found out it’s going to be a boy,” Grigoriev’s wife said.

As a very unique man, Grigoriev loved to be extraordinary in many ways. He was someone who stood out from the crowd and didn’t care for judgement.

With a sense of humor, thick sideburns and a style that consisted of black clothing, Grigoriev was a man, that one could not forget.  

Grigoriev went by the nickname of IgOr OGOGO and dedicated most his time by making music called, “OGOGO”.

The sound of his music was experimental with the essence of his artistic creations. He would write songs about his daughter and wife, having them record their voices and heartbeats into the songs.

Being a part of the Cerritos College community since January 15, 1997, Grigoriev developed many relationships with his students and colleagues, such as Director of bands and orchestra, David Betancourt.  

“Igor was a one of a kind, unique individual. From the way he dressed to the way he carried himself, you could tell he chose his own path. He had a fantastic sense of humor and always had a funny story to share.” Betancourt said.

Musically and as a teacher, he was very open-minded towards the interests of his students. By being involved in the student’s learning process, he would tell them what to concentrate on, so they can improve their skills.

It would have been four semesters this fall for music major Kris Roman, who had the pleasure in being Grigoriev’s private student. “He was a really good, honest teacher. Every little mistake you had he would point it out,” Roman said, “It would kind of piss you off, but then at the same time it would only help you in the end.”

Another student of Igor was music performance major Rusty Kennedy, who was Grigoriev’s student for two semesters.

Kennedy’s experience as Grigoriev’s student was fulfilling from learning the musical abilities that Igor had taught him.

“His Presence in the music department is very important. I think that him not being here anymore is kind of like an empty pocket of students that reflect his teaching style. It will be very sad, in my opinion. He brought a lot of energy to the department and to the students.” Kennedy said.

The heart attack occurred when Igor and Kimia were at home, he gave a kiss to his wife, played with his daughter and kissed his wife’s pregnant stomach, when suddenly before he could walk to his closet, to get ready to head to the store,  he turned around towards Kimia and collapsed.

One of the things that Kimia can recall about Igor, was that, he had always wished for a death that ended fast with no pain.

“Although it will always be a devastating memory and a painful moment in my life, but at least I get some peace from knowing he passed away in an extraordinary, shocking, and quick manner just like the way he wanted,” Kimia said.

On September 25, at 11pm, Igor Grigoriev was pronounced dead at Chino Valley Hospital. His cause of death was a heart attack. This unexpected death has been a shock to Cerritos College students and colleagues.  

It is also something that his family must grieve over with their love for him.

“He was my best friend, my family, my love and my life. I loved him since the day I met him and he will always have a home in my heart,” Kimia said.