On Sunday, March 4th, Music at the Institute (MATI) presented music of MYROSLAV SKORYK in celebration of the composer’s 80th Birthday.
IGOR LESCHISHIN, oboe • SOLOMIYA IVAKHIV, violin • RYAN KAMM, double bass • MYROSLAV SKORYK, piano • MYKOLA SUK, piano MOMENTA QUARTET: Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin • Alex Shiozaki, violin • Stephanie Griffin, viola • Michael Haas, cello.
The concert was attended by more than 150 people including the Consul General of Ukraine in New York, Oleksii Holubov with his wife Olena Holubov, and former Ambassador to the UN, Valeriy Kuchynskyi with his wife Alla Kuchynskyi.
The author of a very diverse and impressive oeuvre, Myroslav Skoryk is one of Ukraine’s most prominent composers. Although contemporary in its vocabulary and means of expression, his music often draws from the rich well of Ukrainian folklore. Skoryk seldom quotes themes literally, but rather incorporates them organically into his works, thus synthesizing idiomatic folk rhythms and melodic gestures with the idiosyncracies of his personal style.
Skoryk’s works include the opera Moses (based on the poem by Ivan Franko), the ballet scores Solomiya Krushelnytska, The Return of Butterfly, Stonecutters; the symphonic Waltz; the symphonic poem Stronger than Death; Hutsul Triptych (based on his film score to Serhii Paradzhanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors); Carpathian Concerto (awarded first prize at the 1991 Kyiv Composition Competition); the symphonic work 1933 commemorating the Holodomor; Penitential Psalm in honor of the “Heavenly Hundred” (the protesters killed by snipers during the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in February 2014); and cantatas for voice and orchestra (Spring, The Person, and Hamaliia). He has also written 9 concertos for violin, 3 concertos for piano, 2 concertos for cello, and one concerto for viola; Suite and Partita for string orchestra, Partita II for chamber orchestra, some 40 film scores and nearly 30 works of music for theater. He also writes jazz and popular music.
Skoryk’s works are regularly performed throughout Ukraine, Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Great Britain, as well as Canada, the United States, and Australia. He often performs his own works as conductor and pianist.
Born in Lviv, Ukraine, in 1938, Skoryk, whose exceptional musical talent was recognized in his childhood by his great aunt, the famous opera singer Solomiya Krushelnytska, was enrolled in the Lviv Music School in 1945. However, his education was interrupted in 1947, when the Skoryk family was arrested by the Soviet authorities and exiled to Sibera. Skoryk was allowed to return to Lviv only in 1955, after the death of Stalin. He was then accepted to the Lviv Conservatory, where he studied composition with Stanyslav Lyudkevych, Roman Simovych, and Adam Soltys. Graduating in 1960, his diploma work was the cantata Spring to the words of Ivan Franko, which is still being performed to critical acclaim. From 1960 to 1964, Skoryk studied at the Moscow Conservatory in the doctoral program with the celebrated Dmitri Kabalevsky. While there, he drew the attention of Dmitri Shostakovych, whose interest in the young Skoryk’s works, expressed in one of the famous Russian composer’s letters to him, added to his creative confidence. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the theory of music and composition at the Lviv Conservatory and, in 1966, the faculty of the Kyiv Conservatory. He continues to teach at the Kyiv Conservatory, and also heads the composition department at the Lviv Conservatory.
After the death of Borys Lyatoshynsky, Skoryk, despite his young age, became one of Ukraine’s most important professors of composition. His many students include such prominent contemporary composers as Stankovych, Karabyts, Kyva, Zubytsky, Stepurko, Havrylets, Kozarenko, Ilyin, and Balakauskas.
In 1968, Skoryk became secretary of the Ukrainian Union of Composers and, in 1988, head of the Lviv branch of this organization. He is the winner of the prestigious Shevchenko Prize (1987), holds the titles of Hero of Ukraine and People’s Artist of Ukraine, and in 1998 was awarded the Ukrainian President’s Order of Merit. He is the honorary head of the National Union of Composers of Ukraine.
Myroslav Skoryk is also a respected musicologist, specializing in contemporary music. He is the author of numerous articles and two books, The Modal System of Prokofiev (1969) and The Structural and Expressive Aspects of Chords in 20th Century Music (1983). As part of his interest in the preservation and revival of Ukrainian music, in the spring of 1991 Skoryk organized a festival of works by Ukrainian composers living abroad. He is also the founder of the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Contrasts,” heads juries of international performing competitions, and since 2002 has been artistic head of the Kyiv Music Fest International Festival. Since 2011, he has been artistic director of the National Opera of Ukraine.
Igor Leschishin has been Principal Oboist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in Washington, D.C. since 1998. From 1996 until 1998, Mr. Leschishin played in The New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas in Miami Beach, Florida. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1995 performing a Vivaldi Oboe Concerto with the New York String Orchestra. Mr. Leschishin graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a Master’s degree in orchestral performance as a scholarship student of Joseph Robinson, Principal Oboist of the New York Philharmonic. He has performed in many prestigious music festivals in the United States and abroad, including Tanglewood, Grant Park, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Innsbruck and Graz (Austria), and Spoleto (U.S. and Italy). Born in Ukraine, Igor Leschishin first studied oboe at the Lviv Music College and later at the Belarusian State Conservatory. He has won numerous first prize awards, including the Belorussian Woodwind Competition and the International Woodwind Competition.
Violinist SOLOMIYA IVAKHIV, hailed by critics for her “crystal clear and noble sound” (Culture and Life, Ukraine), enjoys an international career as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, North America, and China. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, CBC Glen Gould Studio, Curtis Institute Field Concert Hall, Italian Academy in New York City, Pickman Hall in Cambridge, MA, San Jose Chamber Music Society, Old First Concerts in San Francisco, Astoria Music Festival (Portland), Tchaikovsky Hall (Kyiv), and at UConn’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Ms Ivakhiv has made solo appearances with the International Symphony, Istanbul State Orchestra, Charleston Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, Hunan Symphony Orchestra in China, the AACC, and the Bach Festival Orchestra. Her recent album, Ukraine-Journey to Freedom, with pianist Angelina Gadeliya, released on Labor Records with NAXOS of America was featured among the top four classical albums on iTunes. Ms Ivakhiv is currently Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola and Head of Strings at the University of Connecticut and Professor of Violin at the Longy School of Music.
Ryan Kamm holds a Bachelor’s Degree with distinction in Double Bass Performance from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree from Boston University. His teachers include Harold Robinson, Edwin Barker, and Lawrence Hurst. An active performer, he has held positions with the Nashville Symphony, New World Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Haddonfield Symphony. The orchestras in which Mr. Kamm has acted as a substitute include the New York City Ballet Orchestra, New York City Opera, American Ballet Theater, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and the North Carolina Symphony. His festival appearances include the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto, National Repertory Orchestra, and Kent/Blossom Chamber Festival. In addition to teaching in the Preparatory Division of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, Ryan Kamm’s teaching experiences include Middle Tennessee State University, the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Diller-Quaile School in New York City.
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, in particular 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. He is currently 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.
MOMENTA QUARTET: Emilie-Anne Gendron, Alex Shiozaki, violins; Stephanie Griffin, viola, Michael Haas, cello. Taking their name from the plural of momentum, they are four individuals in motion toward a common goal. This is the idea behind the Momenta Quartet, whose eclectic vision encompasses contemporary music of all aesthetic backgrounds alongside great music from the recent and distant past. The New York City-based quartet has premiered over 150 works, collaborated with over 200 living composers and, in the words of The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, “few American players assume Haydn’s idiom with such ease.” Momenta has performed at such prestigious venues as The Library of Congress and the International Cervantino Festival, and at numerous universities, among them Cornell, Brown and Harvard. Its annual self-produced Momenta Festival has met critical acclaim since its inauguration in 2015. The quartet has received prestigious commission grants from Chamber Music America and the Koussevitzky, Jerome and Barlow Foundations. Its debut album, Similar Motion, is available on Albany Records.