Archive for November, 2013
In 1932-33, Moscow’s Stalinist regime deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians to death in a man-made famine. Known as the Holodomor, the Ukrainian term for killing by starvation, the famine stands as one of the most horrendous genocides of the 20th century.
Targeting principally Ukrainian farmers, in a land that for centuries was known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” Stalin aimed to annihilate those parts of the Ukrainian population that were especially resisting Soviet represive policies in Ukraine, and to terrorize the surviving Ukrainian population into submission to the Soviet totalitarian regime. While the exact number of victims is not known, many scholars and historians place the number at 3 to as many as 10 million. One third of the victims were children; at the height of the Holodomor, tens of thousands died daily of starvation.
Eighty years after this unprecedented crime, the Holodomor remains one of the least known genocides. With its exhibit about the Holodomor, the Ukrainian Institute of America joins others around the world in illuminating this tragic chapter in the history of the Ukrainian nation, the consequences of which continue to reverberate in Ukraine to this day.
On Saturday, November 2, 2013 the 25th Anniversary Concert of Music at the Institute (MATI) was held at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, violist Roberto Diaz performed, along with cellist Peter Wiley, pianists Mykola Suk and Meng-Chieh Liu.
Violinist SOLOMIYA IVAKHIV, noted by critics for performing with “a distinctive charm and subtle profundity” (Daily Freeman), enjoys an international career as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, North America, and China. Her numerous festival credits include Tanglewood and the Embassy Series (U.S.), Musique de Chambre à Giverny (France), Prussia Cove (England), Banff Centre and Ottawa ChamberFest (Canada), Modern Music “Contrasts” and the Kyiv International Music Fest (Ukraine), and Verbier Festival (Switzerland). Ms Ivakhiv, who made her debut with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of twelve, has appeared as soloist with the International Symphony, Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, Henderson Symphony, Londontowne Symphony, Orchestra of Southern Utah, and Civic Orchestra of New Haven in the U.S., and extensively in her native Ukraine with the Lviv Philharmonic, Virtuozy Lvova, and the Ukrainian National Symphony. In China, she has appeared with the Hunan Symphony Orchestra. Many of her concerts have been broadcast on National Public Radio, Voice of America Radio, Ukrainian National Radio and Television, and China’s Hunan Television. Ms Ivakhiv is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and holds a Doctorate of Music Arts degree from Stony Brook University. Her principal teachers have been Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, the late Rafael Druian, and Philip Setzer. She is Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola at Ohio University and the Artistic Director of the “Music at the Institute” Concert Series.
A violist of international reputation, ROBERTO DIAZ is president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music. As a teacher of viola at Curtis and former principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Diaz has already had a significant impact on American musical life and continues to do so in his dual roles as performer and educator. Mr. Diaz has appeared as an orchestral soloist and recitalist in major cities around the globe and has worked with many of the leading conductors of our time. He has collaborated with important composers, including Krzysztof Penderecki and Edison Denisov, and was principal violist of the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich, a member of the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and a member of the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Neville Marriner. Mr. Diaz is a member of the Diaz Trio with violinist Andrés Caardenes and cellist Andrés Diaz. His recording of transcriptions by William Primrose with pianist Robert Koenig (Naxos) was nominated for a 2006 Grammy. Mr. Diaz is a 1984 graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teacher was his predecessor at the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joseph de Pasquale.
Cellist PETER WILEY enjoys a prolific career as a performer and teacher. He is a member of the piano quartet, Opus One, a group he co-founded in 1998 with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Ida Kavafian, and violist Steven Tenenbom. Mr. Wiley attended the Curtis Institute of Music as a student of David Soyer. He joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1974. The following year he was appointed principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for eight years. From 1987 through 1998, Mr. Wiley was cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio. In 2001 he succeeded his mentor, David Soyer, as cellist of the Guarneri Quartet. The quartet retired from the concert stage in 2009. He is the recipient of an Avery Fischer Career Grant and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998 with the Beaux Arts Trio and in 2009 with the Guarneri Quartet. Mr. Wiley participates at leading festivals, including Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, OK Mozart, Santa Fe, Bravo!, and Bridgehampton. He continues his long association with the Marlboro Music Festival, dating back to 1971. Mr. Wiley teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music and Bard College Conservatory of Music.
Pianist MENG-CHIEH LIU first made headlines in 1993 as a 21-year-old student at the Curtis Institute of Music, when he substituted with three hours’ notice for André Watts at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The concert earned high acclaim from critics and audience alike, and was followed by a number of widely praised performances, including a recital at Kennedy Center and a concert on the Philadelphia All-Stars Series. After surviving a rare and debilitating illness that interrupted his career, he returned to performing as a recitalist and with orchestras under conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Gustavo Dudamel, and Alan Gilbert. A dedicated chamber musician, as well as solo artist, he has collaborated with musicians in North America, Europe, and Asia, in addition to working with artists in other disciplines, including Mikhail Baryshnikov and his White Oaks Dance Project. Mr. Liu has served on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music since 1993, and in 2006, he joined the faculty of Roosevelt University. In the fall of 2009, he also joined the Chicago Chamber Musicians and now serves as Artistic Director of this ensemble.
Pianist MYKOLA SUK, winner of the First Prize and Gold Medal at the 1971 International Liszt-Bartok Competition, has been described by American Record Guide as “a formidable talent… with an astonishing blend of muscular power, poetry, and utter control.” His international career has spanned four continents, with performances as soloist with numerous leading orchestras, from the Russian National Symphony under Mikhail Pletnev to the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under Roman Kofman. He has collaborated with conductors Charles Bruck, Janos Ferencsik, Arvid Jansons, Stefan Turchak, James De Preist, and Carl St. Clair. As a chamber musician, he has appeared at many prestigious music festivals, including the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Kyiv International Music Fest, and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York. An avid performer of 20th and 21st century music, he has premiered numerous works, especially by such noted Ukrainian composers as Silvestrov, Karabyts, and Skoryk. A native of Kyiv, Mr. Suk holds a Doctor of Music Arts from the Moscow Conservatory and before coming to the U.S., served as professor of piano at both Kyiv and Moscow Conservatories. He now Professor of Piano at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has recorded on the Melodiya, Russian Disc, Hungaraton, Meldac/Triton, Troppe Note/Cambria, and Music & Arts (USA) labels.
The 2013-2014 season marks the 25th year of Music at the Institute (MATI). This quarter-century jubilee is a joyous time to celebrate music, and people: The 300 gifted artists who filled the Institute’s mansion with sounds of pianos, violins, cellos, or voices. The many audiences who sat enraptured by Ukrainian, American, and international musical talents. The generous benefactors and supporters who worked hard to create a memorable program for the Ukrainian Institute of America, and for the New York community at large.
Since Institute member Irena Stecura launched the music series in 1989, MATI has presented audiences with a mix of well-known classical compositions and rarely-performed works of chamber and solo music. The Ukrainian Institute has commissioned works from prominent Ukrainian composers; Virko Baley (MATI’s first artistic director), Valentyn Silvestrov, and Yevhen Stankovych, have all premiered new compositions as part of the MATI series. From the program’s earliest days, MATI became the way for Ukrainian musicians to make their New York and American debuts. Highly-recognized performers of Ukrainian heritage in the MATI series have included violinists Oleh Krysa (former artistic director) and Dr. Solomiya Ivakhiv (current artistic director); pianists Mykola Suk (former artistic director), Valentina Lisitsa, Lydia Artymiw and Juliana Osinchuk; soprano Oksana Krovytska and bass singers Paul Plishka and Stefan Szkafarowsky.
In the words of pianist Mykola Suk, a key goal of Music at the Institute has always been the “infusion of Ukrainian culture with international musical culture.” Frequently, American musicians perform Ukrainian compositions and vice versa, he says. Suk, MATI’s former artistic director and now artistic advisor, made his New York debut in 1989, thanks to the music series.
In addition to acclaimed Ukrainian musicians and composers, internationally recognized musicians such as pianists Evgeny Kissin, Gary Graffman, Vladimir Feltsman, and Alexander Slobodyanik; harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, violinists Gidon Kremer and Philip Setzer, cellist Peter Willey, soprano Lucy Shelton, and many others have performed in the series. Attracting large audiences, the music program plays a major role in fulfilling the Ukrainian Institute’s mission to promote awareness and understanding of Ukrainian culture in the U.S. Says Dr. Ivakhiv: “I try to tie the works that are performed with the history of Ukraine at the time they were written, and to inform the audience of their historical context.”
Music at the Institute would not have attained its 25th anniversary without its leaders and patrons. The program’s first executive director was MATI founder Irena Stecura. From 1990-1996, Andrij Paschuk was executive director, followed by Dr. Taras Shegedyn from 1996-2003. Virko Baley, composer, conductor, and pianist, served as the program’s first artistic director from 1989-1991. Other artistic directors have been Oleh Krysa (1991-1996), Mykola Suk (1996-2010) and Solomiya Ivankhiv (2010-present). Instrumental to the program’s success, Marta Skorupsky designed and organized MATI’s advertising and marketing for over two and a half decades. Important early patrons included Jaroslaw and Vera Kryshtalsky founders of the Prystay Music Fund at the Ukrainian Institute and Daria Hoydysh and Dr. Walter Hoydysh (founder of the Daria Hoydysh Endowment for the Arts at the Ukrainian Institute), who made the early seasons a reality by sponsoring a Steinway piano for the MATI concert series. More recent patrons have included Dr. Ihor and Marta Fedoriw and Tania Krawciw. As the anniversary year unfolds, a standing ovation is due to all who have contributed to the success of Music at the Institute.
“MATI was the first genuinely international music series sponsored by a Ukrainian organization in New York, the cultural capital of the United States, that placed Ukrainian music and performers in international context. May it prosper!”
-Virko Baley, artistic director (1989-1991)
“It is a great joy for me that the MATI series stands as a cultural monument not just to the Ukrainian people but also to the people of New York. The fact that this series celebrates its 25th anniversary this year brings me even greater happiness, and I wish the organizers and performers many more years of great success.”
-Oleh Krysa, artistic director (1991-1996) and honorary director
“From the very beginning, the ultimate purpose of MATI was to present Ukrainian musical culture as a substantive part of the world’s cultural heritage. One can say now that Music at the Institute is up to this aspiration. I’m privileged and proud to be part of it.”
—Mykola Suk, artistic director (1996-2010) and artistic advisor
“I’m proud of MATI’s roster of internationally renowned artists. And I’m thrilled to be engaging Ukrainian musicians who are outside the U.S. and Ukraine. MATI unites musicians from all continents and brings the best of Ukrainian classical culture to New York City. I’m also excited for the new projects that partner with other chamber music festivals, visual artists, publishing companies and living composers to commission new works.”
–Solomiya Ivakhiv, artistic director (2010-present)