This music competition was founded 50 years ago thanks to the initiative of the composers Andrii Shtoharenko and Levko Kolodub, singer Yelyzaveta Chavdar, piano players Yevhenii Rzhanov and granddaughter of the Ukrainian classic, professor of the Kyiv Conservatory Ariadna Lysenko. Until 1992 the competition was of the republican scale and in the years of Ukraine’s independence it gained the international status.
This year marks three anniversaries connected with Lysenko. Apart from the 50 years of competition, March 10 marked 170 years since the birth of Mykola Lysenko and October 24 marked the sad date – the 100th anniversary of the death of the great classic.
Mykola Lysenko was the founder of the national school of composition, author of the nationally-known music, the pride of the Ukrainian and world cultures. Maestro left behind a rich legacy in all genres: these are 10 adult operas and 3 operas for children, adaptations of nearly 600 Ukrainian songs, symphonic, chamber, vocal, instrumental pieces and choruses. Lysenko wrote music for the works of Taras Shevchenko and was the author of research papers on musicology. He was also an outstanding choral conductor, pianist, teacher, educator, and Ukrainian patriot.
Today everyone knows Lysenko’s songs (arias) from Natalka Poltavka or the famous overture to the opera Taras Bulba – drawing card of Ukrainian symphonism (it was edited by Levko Revutsky and Borys Liatoshynsky), or the choir Eternal Revolutionary, song Never-ending Field on poems by Ivan Franko, the sacred hymn Prayer for Ukraine on lyrics by Oleksandr Konysky.
Mykola Lysenko Competition is a tribute to the great master and an opportunity for the audience to learn about the young talents. The international contest will be supervised by experienced Ukrainian performers and teachers: Valerii Kozlov (piano), Anatolii Bazhenov (violin), Ivan Kucher (cello), and Maria Stefiuk (vocal). According to the organizers, participants of the Lysenko Competition submitted applications in four categories: piano, violin, cello, and vocal (there are prizes awarded to female and male voices). The jury admitted 224 contestants under 32 years (instrumental nomination) and 35 years (vocal): 41 piano players, 56 violin players, 22 cello players, and 105 singers. Among the participants there are musicians from the USA, Europe, Asia, and former Soviet republics (vocalist from the far away Congo will also participate in the competition). However, most applications were submitted by our countrymen and neighbors – Russians.
Three rounds of piano audition will take place at the National Philharmonic Society, where those, who would be selected for the last (third) round will play with the Philharmonic Orchestra. Violin players will compete in the Great Hall of National Music Academy of Ukraine (accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra), vocalists will sing in the Small Hall of the Conservatory (orchestra of the National Opera of Ukraine will assist during the orchestral round). Fans of cello will be able to listen to the cello players at the House of Scientists accompanied by the State Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.
The main organizer of the competition is the Ministry of Culture. It provided new conditions and significantly increased the prize fund. Thus, the first prize will be 20,000 dollars, second – 14,000, third – 8,000 (every winner will receive a title of the competition laureate). Incentive awards will be 5,000 dollars and a diploma, and 3,000 dollars with a diploma. The special prize “For the Best Performance of a Piece by Mykola Lysenko” will be 3,000 dollars and a diploma. “The Best Competition Accompanist” will receive 1,000 dollars and a diploma.
The innovation of Lysenko Competition-2012 is a new voting system that meets international standards and will ensure the transparency and impartiality of selecting the winners. According to Lilia Homolska, chief of the Department for the Formation of Governmental Policies in Culture, Art, and Education of Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture, for transparency of the work of the international jury and auditions the Competition Committee invited honored guests. They are the international observers (one person in each nomination: piano, cello, violin, and vocal). The observer must be present during the counting of votes which will be executed by the jury’s secretary and representative of the competition administration. Foreign visitors who will come to Ukraine will take over this mission. Among the foreign guests there will be the General Secretary of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, Marianne Granvig – head of the Carl Nielsen International Music Competition (Denmark), Christina Ferrari – artistic director of the Giuseppe Verdi Opera Theatre (Busseto, Italy), Teresa Ksieska-Falger – artistic director of Lublin Philharmonic Society, head of the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society (Poland), and Taras Filenko – co-author of the book World of Mykola Lysenko, Doctor of Philosophy, ethno music expert, and pianist (USA).
According to the agreements with the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, one or more winners of the Lysenko Competition will receive concert engagement in Poland. At the moment the negotiations with other companies regarding the possibility of concert engagement for the winners of the Fourth Lysenko Competition are in progress. In particular, the Competition Committee is talking with Japanese company Yuna Japan and the guest from Italy Christina Ferrari. And the last pleasant fact. One of the members of the international jury will bring unique violin made by Guiseppe Guarneri del Gesu to Kyiv. The winner of the Competition will play on it on the last day of the music forum.