Ivan Docenko Jr., B.F.A.

Ivan Docenko Jr., B.F.A.

Accompanist Rockwell Hall 116K
Office: (716) 878-4190
Email: docenki@buffalostate.edu

Ivan Docenko is one of the best-known pianists, accompanists, and versatile musicians in Western New York. He is staff accompanist at Buffalo State University [Music Department] where he has worked as vocal/instrumental coach, accompanist for the Chamber Choir, solo and collaborative artist, for 30 years. 

In 1992, Ivan started in the Dance Department providing music for modern dance and ballet. [He was previously ballet accompanist at the Empire State Ballet Company of Buffalo, NY. Working with choreographer Daphne Anne Finnegan, he composed original music for the dance concerts. Docenko has also worked as pianist with the Theater Department for musicals, such as “Anything Goes, Working” and “Dames at Sea”.

He currently serves as organist/pianist for St. Luke's Anglican Church & 1ST Baptist Church in East Aurora. He is also a pianist with the Buffalo Tango Orkestra

Ivan has recently joined the Ed Croft Trio in annual performances of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” which was a winner in the 8th annual Jazz Poll of Buffalo. 

He holds a B.F.A. in piano performance from the University of Buffalo, where he studied primarily with Stephen Manes and Frina Arschanska Boldt. He has also worked with Yvar Mikhashoff, Livingston Gearhart and Carlo Pinto. Docenko also participated in classes with Leo Smit, masterclasses with Kenneth Drake, Mieczyslaw Horszowski and chamber music with Arlene DiCecco of the Rowe Quartet.

Musical associations include solo and collaborative performances with the Chopin Singing Society, Paderewski Singing Society, Amherst Male Glee Club, Opera Buffs of WNY, Opera-Lytes, Chromatic Club, Community Music School, Nickel City Opera, Buffalo Opera Unlimited, Women of Vivaldi, N.A.C.C.and the local Ukrainian American Clubs. He has worked with well-known local vocal teachers Janiece Epke-Baldwin, Genia Las and more recently, Carolyn Jolley and Leah Schneider Wietig.

Docenko had been Music Director for the Niagara Regional Theater Guild [NRTG] for shows including “Hello Dolly”, “Me & My Girl”, “Crazy for You”, “42nd Street”, “Bullets Over Broadway”, “Spamalot”, “Brigadoon”, “Kiss Me Kate” and “Guys & Dolls”. 

For various productions at Lancaster Opera House, he played in the pit band for “Crazy for You” and Opera-Lytes shoes, such as “The Merry Widow”, “The Student Prince”, Carousel” and “The King & I”. Ivan also music directed “High School Musical” and Paul Ziemba’s “Dracula, the Opera”.

As organist at the Riviera Theater, Docenko provided music for the silent film “Nosferatu” (1922), Chaplin’s “The Pawnshop” (1916) for Dan Kamin’s one-man show, and annual performances of “Amahl & the Night Visitors” for Nickel City Opera.

With “Docenko Brothers”, Ivan performs throughout the area with his violinist brother, Gregory. They recently recorded two programs for WNED – Classical: “Hear us Out/Strings Spectacular” and “Live on Stage/December Lights”.] 

 In addition, they provided incidental music for WNED's documentary, POLONIA: Western New York's Polish American Legacy. They also recorded an original score, on CD, written by Buffalo composer Alan Kryszak, for D.W Griffith's 1919 silent film, Broken Blossoms. 

Ivan has also recorded a solo CD of Kryszak’s piano music, “Transparent Preludes.” 

Docenko continually works on various creative projects. For QRS, he recorded a Pianomation CD, “Operatic Phantoms” featuring improvisations on operatic themes. In 2020, Buffalo Opera Unlimited’ s former director, Tim Kennedy asked Docenko to accompany local opera singers in a televised series for WNED-PBS,” On Stage with Buffalo Opera Unlimited”. 

Here are some links to Ivan Docenko’s performances at Buffalo State University:

“Golden Age of Chopin” 

“The Gypsy Influence” 

“Ukrainian Spirit” 

” Bach in Buffalo” – 2 Polonaises (W.F. Bach)