||History of orchestra
The prototype of the first stationary symphony orchestra with its own budget, a wide range of instruments and repertoire was Kyiv City Capellia (Kyiv City Orchestra) formed under Armed Corps of bourgeoises and honorary merchants which was founded in 1627 according to the Royal Decree of Privilege issued by the King Sigizmund the Third. The Capellia played during solemn receptions of royal and important persons and participated in annual Corps' parades.
At the beginning of the 18th century the Corps was liquidated. Upon its restoration in 1768, the Magistrate revived the Capellia (which numbered 18 musicians) and founded a special school to train the future musicians for it. It is known that under the bandmaster Ya. Stankevych (1786) such instruments as trumpets, French horns, oboes, clarinets, bass horns and kettle-drums made up equipment of the Orchestra; during the next decade the Capellia was replenished with a string section, flutes, bassoon, drum and a triangle.
List of printed music belonging to the Orchestra gives certain idea of its repertoire: symphonies, overtures, concertos, variations and chorales of W. Mozart, C. Gluck, I. Pleyel, N. Deleirac, E. Megule, F. Boildier, G. Rossini, P. Rodais, A. Titov.
After the conflagration in 1811 in Podol District the Musical Capellia was disbanded. It resumed its activities in 1814 under the guidance of the well-known bandmaster Gottlieb Friedrich Fichtner.
An original contract from that time has been preserved: “We the undersigned have voluntarily concluded this contract with the Kyiv City Society that we agree to work for the Kyiv City Capellia on the following terms: 1st we pledge to conduct ourselves in an appropriate and honest manner during the term of our service, to avoid ill deeds and being under the influence of alcoholic beverages, to be sober and obedient in all matters to the city and the authorities it appoints over us; 2nd we pledge to perfect and organize the Capellia by means such as practicing and mastering wind (and other) instruments.”
The Orchestra accompanied theater performances on permanent basis. Most likely was participation of the Capellia in the execution of the Ninth Symphony of L. Beethoven and fragments of the oratorio "the World Creation" of J. Haydn (June, 1844) when A. Panocini, the music teacher of the Kyiv Institute of Noble Maids selected musicians from several orchestras and amateur choruses; the Capellia numbered 150 musicians. According to the newspaper "Kievskie Gubernskie Vedomosti", "Beethoven's Symphony was executed accurately like clockwork, and three plays of "the World Creation" were performed properly and sung successfully".
According to various sources, Kyiv City Capellia and its school existed till the beginning of the 1850th.
The musical life in Kyiv of the second half of the 19th century is closely associated first of all with the activities of the Russian Imperial Music Society (the Kyiv branch was inaugurated in 1863). The musical meetings were arranged by the local musicians. Since 1870 the Orchestra has become their permanent participant when I. Altani, the conductor of Kyiv Opera, headed the concert activities (in 1876 he was replaced by L. Albrecht, director of Kyiv Music College). Since that time through 1918 Kyiv symphonic meetings were held by the orchestra of the local opera-house together with teachers and students of Kyiv Music College.
Title page of a musical edition from the library of Kiev City Capellia
The peak of the symphonic performance during that period of time is also associated with the name of Alexander Vinohradsky (1855-1912) conductor, Head of Kyiv City Branch of the Russian Imperial Music Theater. Since 1889, A. Vinohradsky acted as permanent conductor of the Society's symphonic meetings. He executed for the first time in Kyiv all symphonies of P. Tchaikovsky and L. Beethoven. Compositions of J. Bach, W. Mozart, R. Wagner, and H. Berlioz were highly ranked during his performances. Much attention he paid to the contemporary for him Russian music: compositions of M. Balakirev, M. Mussorgsky, N. Rimsky-Korsakov, V. Kalinnikov, O. Glazunov, M. Ippolitov-Ivanov and some Kyiv composers (V. Pukhalsky, V. Cecciott).
Especially notable was the tradition of summer symphonic seasons which continued without interval till 1918. The summer seasons were held by conductors C. Schneevogt and O. Orlov, some concerts were conducted by R. Gliere, O. Glazunov and S. Rachmaninoff. In 1909 C-minor symphony of S. Taneyev was performed in Kupechesky Garden in presence of the author.
In spite of the disorder reigning in the music and concert-related life in Ukraine in 1917-1920 (years of the Revolution, creation of Central Rada, proclamation of Ukrainian People's Republic, Hetman's power, Directory and Soviet power) the first drastic steps were made towards national cultural renascence; professional musical mastery formed on the Ukrainian ground; activities of composers, conductors and music performers are related to this phenomena; national repertoire policy is being implemented.
In March 1917 the musicians of the Kyiv National Opera founded the Orchestra Musicians’ Union. In the beginning of the 1918-1919 concert season the Union members refused to perform because of major disagreements with the German occupation administration. As a result of this the orchestra of the National Opera was manned by musicians from the German armed forces and also by performers invited especially from Germany.
Soon the first autonomous symphony orchestra was formed by the members of the Orchestra Musicians’ Union and students of the Kyiv Conservatoire. On 28th of November, 1918 the newspaper "Derzhavny Visnyk" published the Decree of the Council of Ministers of Ukraine about the creation of the Public Symphonic Orchestra named after M. Lysenko; 66.300 Roubles were assigned for its maintenance. Oleksandr Horily was appointed the Head Conductor; he was the famous composer and musical and public figure, founder of the Astrakhan Branch of the Russian Imperial Music Theater, very energetic man, whose great interest was music (O. Horily was personally acquainted with P. Tchaikovsky and his name is mentioned in letters of S. Taneyev and A. Arensky).
Conductor Oleksandr Horily (1863-1937), founder of the State Symphonic Orchestra named after M. Lysenko
One of the first concerts of the orchestra in December 1918 was dedicated to the works of M. Lysenko: the orchestra performed symphonic fragments from his opera “Taras Bulba” and an orchestral transcription of “Cossack-Shumka.” Orchestra work was highly commended by the musical critics: "Lysenko Symphonic Orchestra was set up not long ago, but it is already determined its serious and conscientious attitude towards artistic activities". The Orchestra is not satisfied with casual concert programs compiled of hastily recalled masterpieces. It would like to present an integral program united by a well-defined style and a well-distinguished creative manner" (Poslednie novosti, January 21,1919).
After the establishment of the Soviet power, the Orchestra was funded from the budget of the People's Commissariat (Soviet Ministry) of Education and it continued its performances as Republican Symphonic Orchestra named after M. Lysenko. During short period of its independent existence the musicians took part in four musical meetings devoted to J. Bach, prepared six programs made up of P. Tchaikovsky's works. In April 1919 were held author's concerts of R. Gliere and O. Skryabin. Simultaneously continued symphonic meetings at the summer bandstand of Proletarsky park in Kyiv.
A page from the magazine "Muzychny Visnyk" wiht a preview of M.Lysenko State Symphony Orchestra's concert (1919 ð.)
In 1920 the Republican M. Lysenko Symphonic Orchestra joined the Philharmonic Association which was headed by the well-known composer and conductor L. Steinberg. In 1923 the Philharmonic Association was transformed into Kyiv State Philharmonic Society (it was officially inaugurated on the 26th of March, 1923) and later in November "the Society headed by L. Steinberg was dissolved with an enormous budget deficit" (Muzyka magazine, 1923, Nr. 8-9).
In the following years the city’s musical life was focused mostly on these musical collectives: the National Opera orchestra, which accumulated the city’s most prominent musicians (headed by L. Steinberg, M. Malko), the First State Cinema theater orchestra (headed by L. Brahinsky), members of the Leontovich musical society (conducted by D. Bertier, M. Radziyevsky), student orchestra of the musical trade school (conducted by D. Bertier), student orchestra of M. Lysenko Institute of Music and Drama (conducted by V. Berdiayev, O. Orlov) and the so-called Symphans – a popular symphony ensemble without a conductor. The concerts took place in the Municipal Concert Hall (modern building of the National Philharmonic), buildings of the musical trade school, Palace of Science, M. Lysenko Institute, Educators’ Club, and during the summer months - on stage of Proletarsky park.
But for a long period of time it was impossible to arrange in Kyiv intensive and well-ordered concert life. "During the last years the problem of regular symphonic concerts is one of the most sore subject in our musical life... There are no doubts that Kyiv needs an orchestra that could completely dedicate itself to the symphonic music. At the same time, even a high-quality orchestra is only a tool, only a half of the matter. One more but not less important task is to find a maestro-conductor with decent technique, sensitive towards the artistic conceptions and ideas of one or another composer..." (Kyivsky Proletar, October 27, 1926).
A short time later the orchestra and the conductor were found. On October 3, 1929 an orchestra numbering 23 musicians was set up at Kyiv Regional Radio Committee. Its first manager was Mykhailo Kanershtein, a gifted graduate of Kyiv Conservatory (the group taught by M. Malko). M. Kanershtein started his conductor's activities in 1926 as a lieder of the symphonic orchestra at Sosnovka health resort, later he became the conductor of the State Ukrainian Traveling Opera.
Conductor Mykhailo Kanerstein (1902-1987)
M. Kanershtein made every effort to arrange from the very beginning a systematical work of the newly-created group of musicians. Symphonic literature was selected according to the developed plan. Step by step eight L. Beethoven's symphonies and the First Symphony of
D. Shostakovich were played at the meetings; it was celebrated the 25th anniversary of the death of E. Griege. The Orchestra presented the Second Symphony of L. Revutsky, "Heroic Overture" and a piano concerto of V. Kosenko. The famous guest conductors such as G. Unger, O. Fried, G. Fitelberg are performing with the Orchestra.
First critical reviews of the orchestra’s activity were positive: “Not only is the orchestra itself new, 80 percent of its members are also young musicians…Youth is always associated with unstoppable, indefatigable energy, and that is a guarantee of fruitfulness.” The conductor was also noted by the press as “a musician of great culture and experience, possessing artistic style and tact, fortitude, strict but not dry performance” (Proletarska Pravda, 1932, 30th of October).
Newly formed State Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine with conductor Herman Adler (in center, 1937 ð.)
In 1934, on occasion of the transfer of the capital of Ukraine from Kharkiv to Kyiv, the Orchestra of the Regional Radio Company was subordinated to the Republican Radio Committee, and the number of musicians increased up to 60 people.
From 1935 through 1937 the Orchestra of the Republican Radio Committee was headed by Herman Adler who formerly conducted the Symphonic Orchestra in Kharkiv and lectured at the Higher Conductor's Courses. This talented musician and experienced conductor (Adler studied music at the German Musical Academy in Prague) managed to transform the Orchestra into the leading symphonic orchestra of the Republic. In 1936 B. Lyatoshinsky’s Second Symphony and L. Revutsky’s Second Piano Concerto were performed for the first time by the orchestra under the conductor H. Adler.
At this time, on 19th of June 1937, the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukr. SSR decided to set up Ukrainian State Symphonic Orchestra on the basis of the symphonic orchestra of the Republican Radio Committee and subordinate it to the Department for Arts under the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukr. SSR.
Since 1938 and almost for 25 years the Orchestra was headed by Natan Rakhlin, National Artist of the USSR, professor, one of the most prominent conductors of the 20th century, master of an outstanding musical talent, whose work of a lasting consistency contributed to the formation of a high acting technique of the musicians.
Conductor Natan Rakhlin (1906-1979)
N. Rakhlin graduated from Kyiv Music and Drama Institute named after M. Lysenko (1930) where he was taught by V. Berdiayev, O. Orlov, D. Berlier, and R. Brock. Then he worked in Kharkiv, in 1935 he was one of the founders of the symphonic orchestra in Donetsk city. N. Rakhlin performed for the first time with the State Symphonic Orchestra of Ukraine in September 1937, and in 1938 he became a laureate of the First All-Union competition of conductors.
Key role in the conductor's technique of N. Rakhlin played his profound and comprehensive knowledge of the orchestra, understanding of all peculiarities of its nature. According to the recollections of his contemporaries, Rakhlin's art was far from the so-called "intellectual" execution style. He was a conductor of a brightly expressed "spontaneous basis", very energetic person with an impressive ability to govern the orchestra.
During the season of 1938-1939 the musical community of Kyiv heard almost all L. Beethoven's symphonies, the wrongly forgotten symphony of C. Franck, "Manfred" of P. Tchaikovsky, the ballet suite "Romeo and Juliet" of S. Prokofiev, the Fifth Symphony of D. Shostakovich. Being accompanied by the State Symphonic Orchestra and executed by D. Oystrakh, in 1939 Kyiv listened to the violin concerto of M. Myaskovsky.
Conductor Lev Brahinsky (1896-1953)
When the Second World War started in September, 1941 N. Rakhlin was appointed a Head Conductor of the State Symphonic Orchestra of the USSR. From 1941 till 1944, the main cast of the Ukrainian Orchestra continued playing first in Ordzhonikidze and then in Dushanbe managed by Lev Brahinsky, the Honored Worker of Arts of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
During those severe and exhaustive for the country years the Orchestra carried out titanic work performing for the rear military units, hospitals and recruiting centers.
At the beginning of 1946 N. Rakhlin came back to Kyiv and headed again the State Orchestra of Ukraine. In 1944, the Orchestra founder M. Kanershtein and first Ukrainian female conductor, winner of the Soviet-wide young conductors’ competition of 1946 Yevheniya Shabaltina joined the Orchestra.
Conductor Evhenia Shabaltina (1909-2001)
In 1949-1957 Kostyantyn Simeonov, the future legendary director of the Opera and Ballet theaters in Kyiv and Leningrad worked with the Orchestra.
During this period the activities of the Slate Symphonic Orchestra was inseparably associated with the development of the Ukrainian musical culture.
Conductor Kostyantyn Simeonov (1910-1987)
The Orchestra executes almost all outstanding symphonic works composed in Ukraine. Many of these works are created in a close contact with the Orchestra (for example, the Third Symphony and the "Slavic Concerto" of B. Lyatoshinsky).
In 1948 and 1952 the orchestra performs in Moscow and Leningrad. These tours were successful and garnered a lot of positive attention from the national press. “The tour of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukr. SSR is an important event in the cultural life of the capital. Their performances proved that this orchestra deserves one of the main places amongst the country’s leading symphony orchestras.”
On the 30th of October, 1957 N. Rakhlin performed for the first time in Moscow the Eleventh Symphony of D. Shostakovich together with the State Symphonic Orchestra of the USSR. On the 19th of December, 1957 took place Kyiv premiere of this symphony executed by the Ukrainian Orchestra. The success was tremendous.
In 1962 the State Symphonic Orchestra of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic successfully played together with Stefan Turchak, a young conductor graduated from the State conservatory in Lviv (the group taught by M. Kolessa).
Conductor Stefan Turchak (1938-1988)
A little later he was appointed a Head Conductor and Art Director of the Orchestra. The violist Gaspar Cassado after playing with S. Turchak said: "He has brilliant future and an extraordinary talent...".
The newspapers described the young conductor as a bright artist who can skillfully combine the capability of deeply perceiving the author's idea and a high conductor's technique with continuous search for the novelty and striving for the perfection.
1n 1966, upon the next performance of the Ukrainian Public symphonic orchestra in Moscow, the newspaper "Vechernyaya Moskva" stressed: "S. Turchak matches a high performance temperament with a perfectly developed sense of proportion. He possesses a refined gesture and a subtle sensation of the musical phrase form and tempo changes. The clarity of the conductor's embodying his ideas and his scrupulousness in treating details are evidences of the a mature professionalism, an utter devotedness to his cause".
The references published in the foreign press in response to the conductor's appearances confirmed his marvelous abilities. "Whenever Mr. S. Turchak led the orchestra, he proved himself to be an exquisite musician capable of reproducing the stylistic peculiarities of any work with an extreme sensitivity and exactness" (Vitchyznyany Front, Bulgaria). "Turchak impresses the audience with many and many traits of his brilliant gift. As regards the self-sacrifice shown by him from the first to the last act, this feature is usually peculiar to the youth. The most striking thing is the artistic moderateness he manifests while passing from the utmost emotional expression to the finest nuances" (Rabotnychesko Delo, Bulgaria).
In 1964 according to the Decree of the Supreme Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic a title of an "Honored Orchestra" was conferred on the Ukrainian State Symphonic Orchestra.
From 1968 through 1973 the Orchestra was headed by the Honored Artist of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Volodymvr Kozhukhar (studied in M. Kanershtein's group, Kyiv Conservatory and finished the post-graduate courses in Moscow Conservatory, class of G. Rozhdestvensky, and attended the seminars of conductors led by I. Markevych).
For the first time V. Kozhukhar occupied the conductor's stand of the State Orchestra in 1964 as second conductor. Already in those times the press characterizing his manner of leading the Orchestra wrote: "... a prominent young conductor demonstrated the features of a very profound musician, the works interpreted by him sounded as matured and simultaneously very emotional. The Orchestra was imbued with an exclusive ardor and played clear with much Slavic cordiality" (Dunaiska Pravda, Bulgaria).
"Volodymyr Kozhukhar is perfect at the conductor's stand. Nothing unnecessary. He demonstrates absolute lack of any nervousness so often observed at the rehearsals of some conductors. Precise and refined motions. Pressure and will, dynamics and temperament, a concentration of senses and intellect. Amazingly clear immediate contact with the musicians not burdened with any superfluous..." (Vitchyzna, 1973, Nr. 3).
Conductor Volodymyr Kozhukhar
As principal conductor, V. Kozhukhar expanded the orchestra’s repertoire to include new music by Ukrainian composers (B. Lyatoshinsky’s Fourth Symphony, G. Taranov’s Seventh and Eighth Symphonies, L. Dychko’s “Metamorphoses”, M. Skoryk’s “Carpathian Concerto”). For the first time in Kyiv the orchestra performs I. Stravinsky’s “Holy Spring”, P. Hindemith’s “Painter Matisse”, and B. Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra.
Conductor Allin Vlasenko
In 1973 Stefan Turchak, National Artist of Ukraine came back lo the State Orchestra of the Ukr.SSR (since 1968 Allin Vlasenko – conductor of National Opera of Ukraine, a famous pedagogue now – is working there as second conductor). Musicians of the Orchestra actively go on concert tours in Ukraine and abroad, take part in the cultural programs such as "Days of Ukrainian Literature and Art" in Estonia (1974), Bilorus (1976), more than once perform in the form of "creative reports" in Moscow and Leningrad. The peak of that period is successful performance at the "Russian Winter" Festival in 1976, where the Orchestra (the only among all the symphonic groups of the Soviet Union) was entitled to participate in the final musical forum's concert.
The same year the Decree issued by the Ministry of Culture of the Soviet Union conferred upon the Orchestra the honorary title of the Academic Orchestra.
In 1978 Fedir Hlushchenko, National Artist of the Ukr.SSR led the Orchestra. Having graduated from Leningrad Conservatory (I. Musin's class) he had been working for some period of time as a Head Conductor of the symphonic Orchestra at the Karelia Radio, and in 1973 he became the second conductor of the State Symphonic Orchestra of the Ukr.SSR.
"...Considering F. Hlushchenko's creative manner of conducting, the most applicable word to define it concisely is "elegance". His gestures are functional and always imply a semantic load; they are informative, i.e. expressive in the direct meaning of this word. Such a manner is not scanty at all: the conductor's gestures concentrate everything the musicians actually want to say, to say in a distinct way but without unnecessary redundant words" – wrote the newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura after the performance of opera-oratorio "Oedipus Rex" of Stravinsky in the Philharmonic Society in Kyiv(1982).
Conductor Fedir Hluschenko
On the initiative of F. Hlushchenko and Yury Nikonenko (Second conductor of the Orchestra), Kyiv Philharmonic Society started issuing season tickets for the concerts "New works of Ukrainian composers". Under the leadership of F. Hlushchenko the orchestra also recorded the Third Symphony “I affirm myself” by Y. Stankovych and performed his folk-opera “When Fern Blooms.” He also restored Concerto for choir, soloists and symphony orchestra “Garden of Divine Songs” by I. Karabits to the orchestra’s repertoire.
The Orchestra participates in musical festivals held in Moscow and in the festivals in Brno and Bratislava (Czechoslovakia, 1986). The Orchestra carries out concert tours to Bulgaria, Latvia, Azerbaijan (1979), Armenia and Poland (1980), Georgia (1982), Leningrad (1987).
In 1988 Ihor Blazhkov, a brilliant musician and National Artist of Ukraine was appointed the Head Conductor and Art Director of the Orchestra. Having graduated from Kyiv Conservatory (A. Klimov's class) and the post-graduate courses in Leningrad Conservatory (class of E. Mravinsky), I. Blazhkov had been working as the second conductor of the State Symphonic Orchestra of the Ukr.SSR (1958-63), conductor of Leningrad Philharmony (1963-68) and lieder of Kiev chamber orchestra (1969-76).
"This is I. Blazhkov's portrait at the conductor's stand: tall, a little bit stooping posture, a scanty manual technique, no unnecessary7 motions and full concentration. Those who is looking for specific impressions, elegant plastic beauties, spectacular postures or artificially staged freeze-frames will not find all these at his concerts. His concerts are for those who come to listen to but not to look... The Blazhkov's effect consists in a mighty intellectual energy, analytical preciseness and fine interpretation. No improvisations, no "aspiration-based frivolities": everything must be "polished" during the rehearsals. And as a result we observe impeccability of the harmony and ensemble, a proper sonority equilibrium, well-adjusted order of every touch, logical and dynamical nuances...". Such a definition of the conductor's executive style was given by the magazine Artline.
Conductor Ihor Blazhkov
As a musician of encyclopedic knowledge, researcher of ancient music and propagandist of musical avant-garde, I. Blazhkov reformed the orchestra’s repertoire and significantly increased the professional level of the collective. Under his leadership the orchestra affirmed itself as a multifaceted and mobile musical unit. Press coverage from that time notes the orchestra’s perfect artistic style, and its high culture in interpretation of music.
The musicians of the Orchestra were invited to take part in festivals and concerts in Germany, Poland (1989), Spain (1991), Russia (1991) and France (1992). The best concert programs were recorded on CD produced by the "ANALGETA" Company (Canada), and "CLAUDIO RECORDS" (Great Britain).
The National Symphony Orchestra’s performance of D. Klebanov’s First Symphony “Babi Yar” in 1990 after decades of prohibition caused a public resonance. After the announcement of independence of Ukraine in 1991, the orchestra made the first official record of the National anthem of Ukraine.
According to the Decree of the President of June 3, 1994, "with the aim of further development of the creative potential and taking into account considerable contribution into the development of the musical art and popularization of the cultural heritage of the Ukrainian people State Honored Academic Symphonic Orchestra was awarded the status of the "National Honored Academic Orchestra of Ukraine".
Since 1992, the National Honored Academic Orchestra of Ukraine collaborates actively with Theodore Kuchar, an American conductor of Ukrainian origin, the Art Director of the Australian Chamber Music Festival. In 1994 the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture appoints him to the position of Art Director and Head Conductor of the Orchestra (since 1995 Viktor Ploskina, a laureate of Turchak National Competition. Honored Artist of Ukraine has become the Second Conductor).
Under T. Kuchar the National Honored Academic Orchestra of Ukraine has become the most often recorded musical collective of the former Soviet Union. During eight years the Orchestra recorded over 45 compact discs for the companies "Naxos" and "Marco Polo", including all the symphonies of V. Kalinnikov, B. Lyatoshynsky, B. Martinu and S. Prokofiev, some works of W. Mozart, A. Dvorak, P. Tchaikovsky, A. Glazunov, D. Shostakovich. R. Shedrin and E. Stankovych. The disc of the Second and the Third symphonies of Lyatoshynsky was recognized by ABC company as "the world's best record of 1994".
Conductor Teodor Kuchar
Geography of concert tours has enlarged; the band gave first concerts in Australia, Hong Kong, Great Britain. According to the international press "the Ukrainian Orchestra amazes by its virtuosity, brilliance and subtlety of details. Orchestral solos are irreproachable and filled with an unbelievable sound quality" (Yorkshire Post).
Conductor Victor Ploskina
"The brass and woodwinds groups are amazing. They do not yield to the Cleveland Orchestra in sounding. The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and its conductor are one of the most precious Naxos' windfalls: they have found a good band" (Scott Morrison, amazon.com).
At the end of 1997 the National Honored Academic Orchestra of Ukraine was headed by Ivan Hamkalo, an Honored Artist of Ukraine, skilled maestro, encyclopedic expert of the music.
Conductor Volodymyr Sirenko
In 1999 Volodymyr Sirenko, the Honored Worker of Art of Ukraine has become the Head Conductor of the National Honored Academic Orchestra of Ukraine, and since 2000 he has become the Art Director. V. Sirenko started to work at the National Honored Academic Orchestra of Ukraine after graduating from Kyiv Conservatory in 1989 (A. Vlasenko's studio). At the beginning he worked as I. Blazhkov's assistant, then as the Second Conductor (in 1991-1998 he headed Symphonic Orchestra at the National Radio Company of Ukraine and made more than 200 records for the library of the Ukrainian Radio).
The international press compared the Ukrainian maestro with such brilliant contemporary conductors as E.-P. Salonen and S. Rattle. "Volodymyr Sirenko is notable for a special manner in reading musical works of various levels, this concerns both the sound and the style. The musical and stylistic sign of the individual executive manner inherent in Sirenko is an expressed "cordial centrism", a "heart witness" in other words (newspaper Ukrainsky Forum, February 7-14, 2001). “The meaning of a piece in its entirety, the depth of feelings, the drama, all this can be read looking at the conductor: Sirenko gives it his all…He lives through every nuance in his motions, and it feels almost like a child’s ingenuousness, simplicity and openness…”, - writes Nota magazine ((2002, ¹ 2).
In November 1999 V. Sirenko initiated the biennial concerto cycle "All symphonies by Gustav Maler". The Orchestra is constantly widening its discography. In 2004 the "Requiem for Larisa" by V. Silvestrov performed and recorded by the Orchestra jointly with the Choir "Dumka" was nominated for the 47th GRAMMY Awards. The Orchestra received positive reviews from BBC Music Magazine: “The whole record is performed with just the right energy and intensity, which persuades the listener that this collective belongs to the orchestral mainstream.”
Concert tours of the Orchestra include performances in France. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and South Korea. In 2008 the Orchestra took part in memorial concerts in honor of victims of Holodomor of 1932 –1933. These concerts took place in London, Amsterdam, Prague, Bratislava and Strasbourg.
During various periods of its existence the Orchestra was coducted by the most outstanding Soviet and foreign conductors such as A. Gauk, K. Ivanov, M. Anosov, K. Eliasberg, Ye. Mravinsky, Ye. Svetlanov, K. Kondrashin, G. Rozhdestvensky, O. Dimitriadi, Yu. Temirkanov, L. Stokovsky, I. Markevich, G. Abendrot, V. Ferrero, C. Zecchi, G. Georgescu, K. Sanderling, Ja. Ferenchik etc.
Famous musicians of the 20th century such as S. Richter, E. Gilels, H. Neuhaus, L. Oborin, S. Knushevicky, A. Rubinstein, van Klibern, A. Fischer, V. Kraynev, M. Petrov, M. Pletnyov, L. Kohan, D. Eustrach, I. Stern, I. Menukhin, O. Krysa, S. Rostropovich, G. Cassado, I. Kozlovsky, I. Arkhipova, B. Rudenko, Ye. Miroshnichenko, J. Carreras, M. Cavalier, G. Cherni-Stefanska, and many others took part in the Orchestra's concert programs.
The Orchestra has always been remarkable for its first-class cast. During all period of its existence its backbone comprise highly professional musicians such as violinists B. Basov, B. Helberger, Z. Zelinsky, Ye. Idelchuk, B. Kotorovych, O. Kotorovych, Ya. Mareina, viola-players A. Venzheha, A. Zelinsky, cellists V. Potapov, O. Yurovytsky, flutists V. Dmitriyev,
V. Kudryashov, V. Fedchenko, oboist 0. Bezuhly, clarinetist S. Ryhin, bassoonist O. Litvinov, P. Tchupryna, French horn players A. Kyrpan, M. Yurchenko, trumpet-players F. Rygin, M. Frumin, trombonists V. Haran, A. Razumik, tubist Yu. Strilchuk.
Now the Orchestra numbers over 100 instrumentalists. The band is regularly replenished with young graduates of Ukrainian conservatories. Among the musicians there are the Honored artists of Ukraine and laureates of international and all-Ukrainian competitions.
The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine – the successor of great traditions of the State Orchestra of Ukr.SSR and an object of great cultural and historical heritage value. The main principles of its development are publicity, active collaboration with partners and patrons, and an uncompromising faithfulness to the great ideals of classical art.
Borys Lyatoshinsky: Symphonies Nos 2 and 3 performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine 1994. Best International Recording of the Year
Diplom wiht the 47th Grammy nomination for Valentin Silverstrov's "Requiem for Larisa" performed by the National Symphony Orchestra and National Choir Ensemble “Dumka”