NEW YORK – After a much-too-long absence from the New York scene, Mariana Sadovska returned in mid-December with the premiere of her latest work “The Night Is Just Beginning.” The Ukrainian Museum and the Yara Arts Group presented the work on December 16 and 17, 2016, at The Ukrainian Museum. The work was directed by Virlana Tkach, the award-winning artistic director of Yara Arts Group. The evening featured Ms. Sadovska on vocals, piano, harmonium and recorded synths, and Julian Kytasty on bandura and vocals. The piece featured the multimedia projections by Waldemart Klyuzko of his and Evgeniy Maloletka’s photos and imagery. In effect, Kr.
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (NSOU), the country’s most acclaimed cultural ambassador and one of the most distinguished orchestras of Europe, will undertake a 44-concert North American tour beginning on January 18 in Fort Myers, Fla., and concluding in the San Francisco area on March 26. Tour performances will be conducted by Theodore Kuchar, the orchestra’s first artistic director and principal conductor, and presently conductor laureate; and Volodymyr Sirenko, Mr. Kuchar’s successor and the orchestra’s present artistic director and principal conductor. Soloists will include the Ukrainian pianist Alexei Grynyuk and violinist Dmytro Tkachenko. Mr. Kuchar told The Ukrainian Weekly that he has been “fighting for this North American tour for ages” and that it promises to be “the largest-scale cultural event coming from Ukraine in our time.”
Mr. Kuchar is the most recorded conductor of his generation and appears on over 100 compact discs for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine and Marco Polo labels. He has served as general director and principal conductor of two of Europe’s leading orchestras, the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Czech Radio Orchestra) in 2005-2014 and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in 1994-2004.
KYIV – The feature documentary film “Okradena Zemlya” premiered in Kyiv at “Ukrayinskyi Dim” (Ukraine House) on the Khreshchatyk on November 25 to a standing ovation. The showing was organized by the Memorial to the Victims of Holodomor National Museum with the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, as part of the worldwide Holodomor commemorations. Official invitations were mailed to various dignitaries, including those who participated in the film and were interviewed in the documentary, among them Ivan Drach, Dr. Hennadii Boriak, Prof. Yurii Shapoval, Prof. Roman Serbyn. Admission being free, volunteers handed out invitations to the general public at Kyiv subways and at universities. Opening remarks at the premiere were given by organizer Nina Lapchynska, the head archivist at the museum. As the tail credits of the film rolled, the audience stood, moved to tears. This was followed by Lesia Hasydzhak, general director of the national museum, who spoke of the importance to continue researching and gathering evidence of the genocide. Prof. Volodymyr Serhiychuk of Taras Shevchenko National University, whose mother and father were both victims of the Famine, and Oles Yanchuk of the Dovzhenko Film Studio were among those who spoke following the film. Both emphasized how powerfully the film captures the broad scope of the genocide and the need to make the documentary available to schools and teachers throughout Ukraine. Film critic Larysa Naumova called it “very powerful.”
Contacted in Montreal, filmmaker Yurij Luhovy stated, “who would have thought then that eight decades after the Famine-Genocide, this documentary would be shown in Kyiv, knowing this whole area was once closed off to the West, gripped in terror as the man-made Famine was denied. I am grateful to all that supported making ‘Okradena Zemlya’ and am moved it is so well received.”
“Okradena Zemlya” was produced and directed by Mr. Luhovy, and narrated by National Artist of Ukraine Bohdan Beniuk.
NEW YORK – From September 11 to November 27, honoring the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, The Ukrainian Museum hosted not one, but two, complementary exhibitions of collectable pieces of official history issued by independent governments of free Ukraine. The larger exhibition, “In Metal, On Paper: Coins, Banknotes and Postage Stamps of Independent Ukraine, 1991-2016,” was curated by Dr. Yuri Savchuk, senior research associate at the Institute of History of Ukraine at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU). The exhibit itself was organized by The Ukrainian Museum, along with the National Bank of Ukraine, Ukrainian State Enterprise of Posts (“Ukrposhta”) and the Institute of History of Ukraine at NANU. The parallel exhibition, “Money, Sovereignty and Power: The Paper Currency of Revolutionary Ukraine, 1917-1920,” focused on paper money only, and was based on a traveling exhibition curated by Bohdan Kordan, professor and director of the Prairie Center for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage (PCUH) at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, and organized by the PCUH, along with the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. Together, these two exhibitions showcased monetary and philatelic instruments from two prominent periods of independence throughout Ukraine’s history.
A new star emerged on the horizon of the Ukrainian diasporan cultural stage as the newly formed Women’s Bandura Ensemble of North America (WBENA) presented its first concerts in Detroit and Cleveland, at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany, N.J., between October and November. The ensemble of 21 female vocalists and bandura players received rousing applause and standing ovations in all four venues where they appeared, firmly establishing themselves as an exciting new group on par with other renowned bandura ensembles. On October 29-30, the WBE performed in a joint concert with the famed Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus in Detroit and Cleveland, presenting its own all-female repertoire as well as several selections with combined male and female choruses. At Wesleyan and Whippany, the WBE performed an exclusively all-female program and dazzled the audiences with its versatility and professionalism.
WASHINGTON – When the Ukrainian singer, composer and poet Solomia entered the stage at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on December 4, the people in the audience knew that all the proceeds from the ticket sales would go to help feed, clothe and care for the many orphans who lost their parents in the armed struggle being waged in the eastern part of Ukraine. But they could hardly have imagined what they would be getting in return: the deeply touching performance of Solomia’s own songs, her poems, her musical accompaniment and explanations of what was being presented and what Ukraine was undergoing. Solomia (Olena Karpenko is her real, off-stage name) wrote the words and music of all the songs she performed, as well as the short poems she recited. She noted, however, that some were based on other authors, like Lina Kostenko, or novels, like “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors,” or foreign songs, like “Anyone Can Fly.”
Near the end of the two-hour presentation, Solomia performed what she wrote last year about her brother, “Ty” (You).
NEW YORK – This fall Mariana Sadovska traveled with artists of the Yara Arts Group to the villages of the Donetsk region near Volnovakha, where they recorded Ukrainian folk songs, and witnessed the ritual of the dressing of the bride and the making of a korovai wedding bread. The vitality of the ancient songs they recorded stands in harsh contrast to the reality of the war that the villagers experience. That juxtaposition is presented in “The Night is Just Beginning” through the songs Ms. Sadovska composed based on the poetry of Serhiy Zhadan and Lyuba Yakimchuk. Julian Kytasty will be joining Ms. Sadovska on stage, singing and performing on the bandura, a traditional Ukrainian instrument. The performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, December 16 and 17, at 7:30 p.m. at The Ukrainian Museum.
NEW YORK – “CIM” is an exhibition that plays on the notion of the collective, and what cultural and ethnic topographies bind first- and second-generation Ukrainian American and Ukrainian-born artists from the New York City area. The seven contemporary artists participating in this group exhibition are Luba Drozd, Adriana Farmiga, Maya Hayuk, Roman M. Hrab, Yuri Masnyj, Christina Shmigel and Marko Shuhan. The word “CIM” (Cyrillic alphabet) means “seven” in Ukrainian, and this exhibition convenes seven individual experiences as a collective of artists working in a wide range of styles and media. “CIM” will be open to the public from December 11 through September 3, 2017. Finding a thread to connect the artists and their practices can sometimes prove to be elusive in group shows.
NEW YORK – Talents of the World, an international concert organization, will celebrate the friendship between two peoples – Georgians and Ukrainians – with a concert dedicated to the 25th anniversaries of independence of the two nations. Ukraine’s and Georgia’s rich cultures are well represented in the concert with several musical styles: Ukrainian and Georgian classical music, folk music and popular songs. The concert features David Gvinianidze, a world-renowned baritone, founder and president of Talents of the World, recipient of the United Nation’s medal for promoting arts and culture, and Olga Lisovska, a famous Ukrainian soprano, director of Commonwealth Lyric Theater and Talents of the World, winner of several vocal competitions. Joining them are several talented artists from New York and Boston: Lyudmila Fesenko, soprano; Anni Kolkhida, soprano; Boris Fogel, piano; Giorgi Jorjadze, cello; and Merab Ebralidze, piano. Ms. Lisovska is a well-known artist in the Ukrainian community, especially after having produced a fully staged opera “Zaporozhets za Dunayem” with Common-wealth Lyric Theater in several cities of New England and after touring with her all-Ukrainian program “Solovyini Romansy.”
Following the concert, guests are invited for conversation and refreshments.
WASHINGTON – Choral music lovers in this area received a very welcome present from the Kyiv Chamber Choir on November 6 at the National City Christian Church: an emotionally and artistically moving concert of Ukrainian sacred and folk music. This was the last of nine concerts on the Ukrainian choir’s 10-day 2016 “Sounds of Ukraine” tour that began October 28 in Chicago and continued through Cleveland, Toronto, Rochester, Hartford, Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Under the direction of its founder and conductor Mykola Hobdych, the 21-member choir (10 women and 11 men) began their concert here dressed in formal attire, singing eight examples of some of the finest Ukrainian sacred music, among them medieval chants, like “Blessed is the Man” from the Kyiv Pechershka Lavra; classical period compositions, such as Maksym Berezovsky’s “I will sing of your love and justice, o Lord,” Dmytro Bortniansky’s “Glory to the Father and the Son”; and, before breaking for intermission, a few more-contemporary compositions, among them Valentyn Sylvestrov’s “Three Sacred Songs” and Petro Turchani-nov’s “God Is with Us.”
The second half of the program was completely different, as was the choir members’ clothing, changed from formal to a modernistic Ukrainian embroidered attire when they walked back in front of the church to perform, this time without their conductor. The second half was devoted completely to Ukrainian folk music, as arranged by 10 contemporary Ukrainian composers, among them Hanna Havrylets, Ivan Nebesny and Volodymyr Zubytsky. And the Kyiv Chamber Choir’s performance was as contemporary as the music itself: singing without their conductor, with all the songs blending together without any pauses for audience applause and with the choreographed and animated movement of sections of the choir on, off and around the stage as they sang.