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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Kyiv Culture

Ukrainian Classic

The name Myroslav Skoryk is synonymous with contemporary classical music in Ukraine. The composers works are performed in National Philharmonics and Opera houses all over the country, his music accompanies many Ukrainian movies even cartoons, his Melody A Minor composed for the movie Visoky Pereval (High Pass) is perhaps his most recognisable work. This year, the Ukrainian maestro celebrates his 75th birthday and invites all to month-long international festival Days of Music of Myroslav Skoryk.

Myroslav Skoryk was born in what was then-Polish Lviv into a family of intellectuals with music in its bloodline. His parents were educated at Vienna University, and while they had no formal training, they were musical and fostered his interest from an early age, while his great aunt was acclaimed Ukrainian soprano Solomiya Krushelnytska. It seems preordained Skoryk would become an accomplished composer, pianist and conductor and it is as the former he made his mark. His operas and symphony music, as well as music written for both the big and small screens, make up his catalogue of musical masterpieces, and his bio is lengthy and speaks for itself but it is not enough to understand the man behind the music. Whats On meets the maestro at the National Opera House to understand what its like to be a classical music composer in the 21st century.

The international festival Days of Music of Myroslav Skoryk is a big event that involves different musical ensembles, orchestras and foreign soloists youve worked with. What is the programme like?
The festival opens on 13 September with opera Moses here at the National Opera House and finishes with ballet 24 Caprises by Paganini (Skoryk composed a score for the ballet). In between there will be concerts involving both national and academic orchestras. I am taking my 75th birthday very seriously, so I am making a kind of lifes summary with this festival.

Looking back at your long and successful career, can you tell us who has been your main teacher not only in music, but in life as well?
I must admit my father played a crucial role in my life: he had his own musical ambitions, he used to play violin and even tried composing a bit. It was he who encouraged me to become a composer, especially when I, as a young boy, would rather be playing football with friends than studying music. Being a historian and ethnographer, he urged me to write music to Ivan Frankos poem Moses. This was impossible in Soviet times, as this poem was disapproved of by the regime, so unfortunately my father never had the chance to hear the result, but Im happy I fulfilled my fathers wish.

Despite having a variety of symphonic music, operas and so on in your portfolio, your Melody A Minor remains your most-recognisable piece, due, in part, to it being used for Holodomor commemoration ceremonies every year. Did you ever envisage a melody you wrote for a Ukrainian movie back in the 1980s, would be so enduring?
It was absolutely unexpected a composer can never guess which of his melodies will become widely recognised and which wont. Its quite surprising, as the melody itself is not easy at all its not a music you catch on to after hearing it for the first time. As for being used for Holodomor commemorations if Im honest, I had doubts about whether to allow it. But then I thought my Melody reflects feelings of sorrow and compassion, but at the same time its not absolutely mournful, it also has a life-affirming mood, so I decided to let the music live its own life.

Realistically speaking, what prospects does a young Ukrainian composer have in Ukraine these days?
Choosing to be a composer in any country is tough. It demands a lot of work and a lot of good luck as well. The whole world today is experiencing the crisis in classical music, as pop music with its fast turnaround hits dominates. For the past 10 years pop music has strangled classical music both in concert halls and in cinemas. It makes no sense to fight with pop music; we simply need to wait out this period and know what people like to listen to. I sometimes visit modern music concerts but enjoy operas and ballets at the National Opera House more.

Days Of Music Of Myroslav Skoryk
Concerts, operas and ballets will take place at the National Opera House of Ukraine (Volodymyrska 50), National Philharmonic of Ukraine (Volodymyrskiy Uzviz 2), Tchaikovsky National Musical Academy (Architect Horodetsky 1/3), National Academy of Culture of Ukraine (Lavska 21)
13 September 13 October
228-9155

by Kateryna Kyselyova

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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