Maestro Bohdan Heryavenko was elected the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus on May 1, 2010.
Mr. Heryavenko started his formal musical studies at the Lviv Musical Pedagogical College where he received an honors degree. Following graduation, Heryavenko began his choirmaster education at the Lviv State Conservatory. Upon completion of the choirmaster program, Heryavenko continued his studies at the Lviv Conservatory in Opera and Symphonic Conducting and graduated under the direction of renowned composer and conductor Mykola Kolessa.
Prior to immigrating to the United States, Maestro Heryavenko held the prestigious position of Chief Choirmaster of the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre in Lviv, Ukraine. His professional career began in 1978 and over the course of the next 16 years; he held positions of conductor and choirmaster of various choirs resulting in his appointment of chief choirmaster of the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre in 1994. Here, one of his most significant contributions was working on the premiere of Myroslav Skoryk's Opera Moses which debuted at the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theatre in 2001.
In addition to his many distinguished awards, Maestro Heryavenko is recognized for his expertise in sacred music. His performance experience has taken him to Bulgaria, Lebanon, Germany, Austria, Poland, and the United States. Maestro Heryavenko currently resides with his family in Lviv, Ukraine.
Adrian Bryttan, was elected Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus in May of 2008. A resident of New York City, Maestro Bryttan enjoys an international career as a conductor as well as violin soloist. He performed the Alban Berg violin concerto as winner of the Concerto Competition at the Manhattan School of Music and was also the first recipient of the Pablo Casals Award "for musical accomplishment and human endeavor".
At the podium, Mr. Bryttan's extensive symphonic repertoire encompasses world premiere performances of symphonic compositions and operas. He has been engaged to lead new productions at the Chicago Opera Theater, New Haven and New Rochelle Operas, and the John Brownlee Opera Theater. He has appeared with Sinfonia Varsovia in Warsaw, Theater Bielefeld in Germany, the Seoul Philharmonic in Korea and in numerous televised performances with the Lviv Philharmonic, Lviv Opera and Kharkiv Opera in Ukraine.
In 2005 and 2006 Adrian Bryttan was appointed a Fulbright International Scholar and assigned to Ukraine where he introduced such contemporary symphonic compositions like Ginastera's ballet suite from "Estancia", the Britten "Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes", William Grant Still's "Panamanian Dances", compositions by Gunther Schuller, contemporary Chinese composers and "Big Band Sounds" and other jazz works for orchestra. During his tenure in Ukraine, he worked with professional symphonies, opera theaters, musical conservatories, and lectured at universities, museums, and film societies.
Mr. Bryttan has served as conductor and violinist on the music faculties at Memphis State, Kansas State and Notre Dame Universities and most recently, Vassar College. He has been invited to conduct operatic and symphonic performances at Rutgers University and the Manhattan School of Music.
The Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus under the direction of Wolodymyr Kolesnyk added a new dimension to choral art.
While continuing the tradition of the all-male bandurist chorus, the Maestro's musical skill and expertise integrated a new dynamic measure of expressiveness and musical nuance to the ensemble's colorful repertoire.
Wolodymyr Kolesnyk was formerly a director of one of the world's great opera theaters, the State Opera and Ballet Theater in Kyiv, where he was responsible for 450 performing artists and a company of 900. In the course of his distinguished career he has worked with such leading singers as Jan Peerce, Jerome Hines, and Teresa Stratas, as well as composer Dmitri Shostakovich and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
Born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Kolesnyk's successful career began at an early age. In 1949, at the age of 21, he was appointed Head Choirmaster of Kyiv's Shevchenko State Opera and Ballet Theater. In 1952 he graduated with distinction from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kyiv, where he then worked as a research fellow, and completed his graduate studies in Conducting and Music Theory in 1954.
In addition to his professorship at the Conservatory and directorship at the Theater, Kolesnyk published numerous articles and reviews as music critic, compiled a three-volume Anthology of Operatic Choral Compositions (Kyiv, Muzychna Ukraina, 1969-72), and worked with numerous film productions.
Kolesnyk's repertoire consists of about 80 operas, including Carmen, Aida, Faust, Prince Igor, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Boris Godunov, Lohengrin, and Tannhauser. His Ukrainian operas include Taras Bulba by Lysenko, Taras Shevchenko and Arsenal by Maiboroda, Bohdan Khmelnytsky by Dankevych and Mazepa by Tchaikovsky; four of which were produced as albums on the Melodiya label.
Maestro Kolesnyk has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including the highly regarded Distinguished Artist of the State in 1960. By 1969 he had risen to the highest post of General Director, Artistic Director, Conductor and Head Choirmaster of the Kyiv Opera, a position he held until he left the Soviet Union in 1972.
After immigrating to the North America, Kolesnyk settled in Toronto with his wife, mezzo-soprano Hanna Kolesnyk, and their son, Maxim. Here he devoted himself primarily to teaching, and to staging Ukrainian operas and symphonic concerts. Maestro Kolesnyk's growing list of accomplishments includes a season with the Australian Opera Company and directorship of the Canadian Opera in Toronto.
Between 1985-88 Kolesnyk saw the fulfillment of a long standing ambition; the performances of the 35 sacred choral a capella concertos by the Ukrainian composer Dmytro Bortniansky (1751-1825). Under the tutelage and baton of Maestro Kolesnyk, two remarkable concerts and complete recordings of the Bortniansky concertos were made by the Millennium Choir. This ensemble of 50 select singers from the United States and Canada, was specially assembled by Maestro Kolesnyk to mark the millennium celebration of Ukraine's Christianity.
Hryhory Trokhymovych Kytasty
Kytasty, Hryhory, b 17 January 1907 in Kobeliaky, Poltava gubernia, d 6 April 1984 in San Diego, California. Bandurist, composer, and conductor. He studied at the Poltava Musical Tekhnikum (1927-30) and the Lysenko Music and Drama School in Kyiv (1930-35, under M. Hrinchenko, L. Revutsky, and V. Kosenko). He was a member of the State Bandurist Kapelle of the Ukrainian SSR from its inception in 1935, serving as concertmaster and assistant director (from 1937).
In 1941 Kytasty was conscripted into the Red Army and captured by the Germans. He soon managed to escape and returned to Kyiv, where he founded and became the first director of the Shevchenko Ukrainian Bandurist Kapelle, which reunited many of the original members of the State Bandurist Kapelle. This group was for a time interned in a Nazi concentration camp, but was subsequently allowed to tour Ukrainian Ostarbeiter camps in Western Europe. A displaced person after the war, he performed as a soloist and with the Kapelle throughout Western Europe, touring Ukrainian displaced persons camps and organizing bandura classes.
He immigrated to the United States in 1949 and settled in Detroit with the entire ensemble, which was renamed the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus. He served as conductor and director of the Chorus to 1954, in 1958-59, and from 1967 to his death.
Kytasty wrote countless original works and arrangements of folk songs for choir and bandura accompaniment, solo bandura, choir and piano, and bandura orchestra. He also composed several dumy and put the works of various Ukrainian poets to music, including Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Bahriany, O. Oles, B. Oleksandriv, and V. Symonenko. Many of his compositions have entered the repertoire of almost every bandura ensemble in the West, especially the haunting instrumental piece Homin Stepiv (Echo of the Steppe).
Kytasty was a tireless propagator of the bandura art. He taught numerous courses and seminars on the bandura and influenced an entire generation of bandurists in North America.
Please visit the Kytasty Foundation website to learn more about the work of Hryhory Kytasty
Zadorozhnyj, Ivan, b 10 March 1916 in Horodenka, Galicia (Halychyna), d 11 February 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut. Conductor and singer (baritone). He studied at the Greek Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv and the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music before emigrating to Germany (1944) and then to the United States (1949). There he appeared in opera productions and conducted church choirs and choruses such as Dumka (New York) and Prometheus (Philadelphia).
Potapenko, Petro, b 1914 Berezivka, Korostyshivskyj region, Zhytomyr gubernia, d 2 February 1998 in Detroit, Michigan. After completing his primary education Potapenko entered the Kyiv Music-Theatre Tekhnikum. Here he studied the violin but switched his studies to choral conducting. He also began playing the bandura here and joined a student's ensemble which quickly grew in popularity. His performance in Moscow was noted by famed pianist O. Holdenweiser. While completing his studies Potapenko also conducted the Vinnytsya Red Army Barracks Women's Bandura Emsemble. Petro Potapenko conducted the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus from 1959 through 1963.
Bozhyk, Volodymyr b 27 December 1908 in Rava Ruska, Galicia (Halychyna). Choir conductor and singer. He received a teaching certificate from the Lviv Conservatory in 1931 and graduated in music from Lviv University in 1935.
From 1936 he appeared as a professional soloist, sang in ensembles (the Warsaw radio quartet until 1939), and directed various choirs. In the 1940's he was the musical director of the Stanislav Theatre.
In 1945, together with Hryhory Kytasty, he reorganized and directed the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus. In 1958, the Chorus toured throughout Europe with both Wolodymyr Bozhyk and Hryhory Kytasty as co-conductors.
He emigrated to the United States in 1949 and conducted a choir and children's orchestra in Rochester, New York, in the 1950's. In the 1960's he conducted the Ukrainian National Choir and a church choir in Los Angeles. He is the author of various musical and choir arrangements of Ukrainian songs.