Born in 1927 in Shanghai, China (where there was a large Russian expat community). Started singing in the choir of a Russian-Orthodox
church in Shanghai.
In 1947, when he was 20, he left China, and moved to the USSR. He sang in an amateur troupe in a metallurgical factory where he worked. His
voice made great impression on the director of the factory, who insisted the young man started studying music. Gavrilkin himself did not
plan to have a career as a singer.
One year after that, he became a soloist of the Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) Philharmonic Capella choir, and was later accepted to the
After graduating from the Sverdlovsk conservatory, the young singer made his debut in 1951 on the stage of Perm Opera Theater in the role
of Sobinin (in Ivan Susanin, the Soviet remodeling of Zhizn za tsarja). In 1954, during a Perm Opera Theater tour to Moscow,
Gavrilkin sang the roles of German and José. One of those concert performances was attended by the leading female singer of the
Kirov Opera Theater, Sofya Preobrazhenskaja. She was highly impressed by the young singer's skills and told him: "You will be working in
In 1956, Gavrilkin made his debut on the stage of Kirov Opera Theater. He meticulously worked on the leading roles in "Semjon Kotko"
(Prokofyev), "Un ballo in maschera", "Carmen", and became one of the leading singers in the troupe of the Kirov Opera. With the Kirov
Opera he extensively toured Europe. He worked at the Kirov Opera for 42 years, and performed the role of German 376 times. He also sang
German in the festive 950th performance of "Pikovaja dama" on the stage of the Bolshoj.
Received the honorary title of an Acclaimed Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1961). Died in October 2014.