On Sunday, March 19, 2017, Music at the Institute presented a concert Meet the Composer – Yevhen Stankovych. Works by Yevhen Stankovych performed by flutist Nora Lee Garcia, violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, cellist Yves Dharamraj and pianist Angelina Gadeliya.
Meet the Composer
YEVHEN STANKOVYCH is one of the central figures of contemporary Ukrainian music. He is the author of six symphonies, six ballets, a large number of works in the choral, vocal chamber and instrumental genres, as well as incidental music to six music theater plays and over 100 films. The regime of socialist realism, enforced with greater fervor in the Soviet Ukraine of the 1970’s than in Russia, attempted to create barriers to external influences. Yevhen Stankovych is recognized as the leader of the group of young Ukrainian composers who in the early 1970’s brought down those barriers and introduced innovation in their techniques and themes. By working within his own parameters, he fell out of favor with Soviet cultural authorities and was rarely given opportunities to have his works performed or recorded outside the USSR. The collapse of the USSR gave him the opportunity to establish contacts with the world, which resulted in recordings of his music by various companies and the performance of his works by performers in other countries, bringing him wide recognition as one of the most individualistic and eminent composers of our time.
Born on 19 September 1942 in the city of Svaliava in Zakarpattia Oblast, Stankovych began his music studies at the Uzhhorod music institute. After a year at the Lviv Conservatory, he transferred to the Kyiv Conservatory, where he studied under Borys Liatoshynsky, and later under Myroslav Skoryk. Beginning with his first compositions, Stankovych declared himself a composer of dramatic temperament. His uniqueness lies in his pronounced affinity with the vernacular, in his blending of folk motifs with orchestral colors, reproducing aspects of the folk song and of traditional Ukrainian folk polyphony. The composer’s elaborate polyphonic textures and meditative lyricism are reminiscent of the strict instrumental style of Baroque music, while the full-bodied affected melodies with an obvious post-romantic coloring give his music warmth and expressiveness. His music is remarkable in many respects, showing his emotional freedom, consummate technical mastery and flexibility of form. Yevhen Stankovych is one of the composers who reinvigorated in a natural and distinct manner the style of connecting the tradition of folklore with the most contemporary techniques of the avant-garde, thus creating a new genre in music (the opera The Flower of the Fern, 1976). He was one of the first composers not only in Ukraine but in the former Soviet Union who started developing the principles of polystylistics as well as collage (Sinfonietta in modo collage, 1970; the ballets Maiska nich [May Night] and Nich pered Rizdvom [The Night Before Christmas]). He is a pioneer in the rebirth of the neo-romantic style in the second half of the 20th century (Symphony No. 4 [Sinfonia Lirica], 1976). At the beginning of the 1980s he developed his own musical system, which he calls “polyphony of layers”—Symphony No. 5 (A Symphony of Pastorals) was the first work in written in this manner. Other works written in this manner include Dictum for chamber ensemble, which is regarded as the only composition that adequately expresses the Chornobyl tragedy; Requiem-Kaddish Babyn Yar (for tenor and bass, chorus and orchestra), and A Poem of Sorrows for orchestra. One of the fundamental philosophic underpinnings of the polyphony of layers, created by Stankovych, is an acceptance of the development of music as a multidirectional and complex process, which may develop either in synchronicity or independently and at a distance from each other.
Yevhen Stankovych is the recipient of a number of major awards. His Chamber Symphony No. 3 was selected by UNESCO as one of the 10 best works of 1985. His honors include Ukraine’s highest award for artistic creativity, the Taras Shevchenko State Prize.
The composer’s works have been performed in Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Switzerland, Finland, Spain, China, the Philippines, the former Yugoslavia, as well as throughout the former Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe. His works have been recorded on Melodiya, Analekta, ASV, and Naxos labels.
NORA LEE GARCIA is one of the most highly regarded flutists in the concert world today. A Powell Flutes Artist and Associate Professor of Flute at the University of Central Florida, she is in demand as an international soloist, chamber artist, and teacher. She has performed with the Chautauqua Symphony in New York and holds the position of principal flute with the Bach Festival Orchestra of Winter Park and the Florida Chamber Orchestra, of which she is a founding member. Ms Garcia has collaborated with some of the world’s finest performers, composers, and conductors, such as Michael Tilson Thomas, George Crumb, Michel Debost, Philip Moll, Howard Buss and Gary Schocker. Most notably, Nora Lee Garcia can be heard on the soundtrack for the Sony Pictures film, The End of the Spear.
Hailed for her “crystal clear and noble sound,” violinist SOLOMIYA IVAKHIV is known for her work as a soloist and chamber musician. She regularly appears in solo concert series in North America, Europe, and Asia, and has been featured at prestigious chamber music festivals, including Tanglewood, Ottawa Chamberfest, and the Newport Music Festival. Her performances are often broadcast on National Public Radio, Voice of America Radio, WRTI, KUNR, Ukrainian National Radio and Television, and Chinese Hunan Television. Her debut solo album, Ukraine: Journey to Freedom – A Century of Classical Music for Violin and Piano, recorded with Ukrainian pianist Angelina Gadeliya, released on Labor Records (NAXOS) on February 12, 2016, and was featured in the Top 5 New Classical Releases on the iTunes billboard.
YVES DHARAMRAJ has earned a worldwide reputation as a dynamic cellist who blends immaculate command of the instrument with deep musical understanding to express his fresh and elegant interpretations. As soloist, chamber musician, teaching artist, and composer, the Franco-American cellist enjoys a multifaceted career that takes him to the major stages of the United States and abroad. As an artist also dedicated to the performance of contemporary music, he is a founding member of the genre-defying Bohemian Trio and indulges in the avant-garde as the cellist of Ne(x)tworks. In 2013, he co-founded the New Docta International Music Festival in Argentina to mentor and nurture Latin American talent. Yves Dharamraj premiered Valentyn Silvestrov’s Drama in North America.
Pianist PHILIP EDWARD FISHER is widely recognized as a unique performer of refined style and exceptional versatility. International tours as a soloist and ensemble musician have taken him across his native United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, and the United States. He has performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Tampere Philharmonic, the Toledo Symphony and the Juilliard Symphony, and has worked with such renowned performers and ensembles as The Brodsky Quartet, tenor Robert White, pianist Sara Buechner, and violinists Elmar Oliviera, Philippe Graffin and Augustin Hadelich. His recent release on the Chandos label, Piano Works by the Mighty Handful, was featured on Classic FM as John Suchet’s “Album of the Week,” as “Classical Album of the Week” in The Telegraph, and has been nominated in the “Best Solo Instrumental Album” category of the International Classical Music Awards 2012.
Lauded by The Washington Post for playing “with intelligence, poetry and proportion,” pianist TANYA BANNISTER has triumphed at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and the New Orleans International Piano Competition, confirming her status among the leading pianists of her generation. Receiving further distinction as an “Artist to Watch” on the cover of the January 2007 issue of Symphony magazine, Ms. Bannister has already appeared on many of the world’s great concert halls, with recitals at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Cortot in Paris, Teatro Communale in Bologna, Tokyo’s Nikkei Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Music at the Institute sponsored by the Ukrainian Institute of America.