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Eastman School of Music remembers beloved teacher

Rochester, N.Y. - Back in class first the first time following a beloved teachers death, reality has slowly started to sink in for the students and staff at Eastman School of Music. 69-year-old Tatiana Tchekina was killed Saturday when a wrong way driver struck her vehicle head-on.

She was very generous to all of her students with both her time and her love, she was almost like a mother to the studio.

Its such a tragedy, said Eastman graduate student, Markiyan Melychenko, its very difficult to believe that something like this could happen to somebody that you know, somebody youre that close to. 

For six years, Melychenko played the violin alongside Tchekina as she accompanied him on the piano. Melychenko said, She was very generous to all of her students with both her time and her love, she was almost like a mother to the studio.

Those who knew Tchekina said she lit up every classroom and concert hall she walked into - something Melychenko said hes going to miss.  It feels as if she will come back that she's just gone for a few days because it doesn't feel normal for her to not be here, to imagine her not being there is very difficult.

An acclaimed pianist, Tchekina taught at the Eastman with her husband, Oleh Krysa, a professor at the violin school. 

Friends said the couple was inseparable; Tchekina and Krysa were attached at the hip.

The professional and personal partnership of Tatiana Tchekina and Oley Krysa was a marvel to behold, said Jean Barr. They were deeply devoted to each other and the music they shared.

A colleague and close friend, Barr said news of Tchekinas death has sent ripples of sadness around the globe. Together, the pianist and her husband have put on concerts for people around the world.

Barr said, It's hard even after two days to wrap your head around the idea that we've lost such a remarkable artist in such a terrible way, such a senseless death.

Driving home from a concert with her husband, a wrong way driver hit the SUV she was driving head-on around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Behind the wheel, Tchekina died at the scene; Krysa suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon.

The other driver, 37-year-old Thomas Rome was found unconscious at the scene; deputies said he smelled of alcohol. Rome is still at Strong Hospital, in guarded condition.

The Monroe County Sheriffs Office continues to investigate, no charges have been filed but investigators are working with the District Attorneys Office. 

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