What`s On. 32. 2001. 21-27 Sept.

Music, Maestro!


Classical music will be very much in the spotlight this next week or so in Kyiv, as the capital gears up for Kyiv Music Fest, the Culture Ministry and the National Union of Composers' annual feast of Ukrainian and international classical concerts. In the past few years, Ukrainian classical music has experienced something of a renaissance since the dark, penniless days of the early 1990's, and the organisers of this year's festival hope that this renewed self-confidence will be very much in evidence this time round. Events will be held at classical music venues across town from 22 September till 1 October in a festival programme which will include thirty-six Ukrainian and world premieres.

Now in its twelfth year, Kyiv Music Fest is the brainchild of Ivan Karabyts, the Kyiv composer who remains involved in the festival to this day. His influence has helped keep the festival fresh and innovative, for, while this is very much the Kyiv classical music establishment on show, Karabyts has consistently stretched the boundaries of live classical music in past years with a number of challenging interpretations of well-known pieces. Consequently, Kyiv Music Fest has traditionally had a somewhat avant-garde underbelly to balance out the more mainstream performances.

Karabyts feels that this combination helps make the festival a showcase for contemporary Ukrainian music. He is also rightly proud of the festival's wide range of styles. "Kyiv Music Fest has brought together the full range of diversity you'll find in modern Ukrainian classical music. We hope that the festival will continue to grow confidently and steadily, while continuing to strive for new artistic interpretations and directions", the man himself reflects.

The festival will not only be about concerts and world premieres, and it is traditionally a time for classical music devotees to take stock of the contemporary climate and indulge in a little introspection. Consequently, a vital component of Kyiv Music Fest has always been the many discussions, work shops and debates held throughout the period of the festival.

Kyiv's many musical institutes of higher education provide the majority of the theorists looking to discuss the intricacies facing contemporary composers, while Cultural Ministy bigwigs and Union of Composers' heavyweights use the event as an annual forum for discussion of themes across the whole spectrum of cultural issues. International guest artists are always encouraged to get involved in this process, and with a wide range of foreign guests expected this year, the dialogue should be as lively as ever.

Although funds are in short supply the international aspect of the festival is regarded as crucial, and guest performers are expected to arrive in Kyiv this week from as far afield as Australia, Japan, Switzerland, America and Italy. Highlights of the international programme look set to include a not-to-be-missed appearance from renowned American jazz vocalist Patricia Miller, who as well as giving classical and jazz concerts, will also treat Kyivites to a masterclass session, reflecting the strong contemporary aspect of the festival. Other highlights include a world premiere of a violin concerto by American composer of Ukrainian origin, Yury Kharenko.

Festival concerts are generally well-attended, and, as entrance to all Kyiv Music Fest events is free of charge, guests would be well-advised to arrive in good time or risk standing for the duration. Let the music play!

"Kyiv Music Fest has brought together the full range of diversity you'll find in modern Ukrainian classical music"

Kyiv Music Fest, 22 Sept.1 Oct., venues across town. See 'The Calendar' for full festival events listings.

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