WASHINGTON —Written by Yaro Bihun. Audiences at the Washington Group Cultural Fund Music Series concerts over the years have heard many Ukrainian artists performing the world’s classical masterpieces, including some by prominent Ukrainian composers. In the most recent concert, May 2, pianist Thomas Hrynkiw and cellist Nestor Cybriwsky, went a step further. Their program was devoted exclusively to Ukrainian composers.
Hrynkiw began the afternoon at the Lyceum, in Old Town Alexandria, with “Ukrainka,” a folk-theme piece by Iosyf Vytvytsky (1813-1866). The rest of the program featured 20th century composers: Lev Revutsky (1889-1977), Viktor Kossenko (1896-1938) and Vasyl Barvinsky (1888-1963).
Following another solo performance — Revutsky’s Sonata in B-Minor — Hrynkiw was joined by cellist Cybriwsky for the rest of the program: Revutsky’s Ballade and, after intermission, Kossenko’s Sonata in D-Minor and Barvinsky’s Nocturno.
As Oksana Skidan of the Cultural Fund noted in her introduction, Thomas Hrynkiw is a second generation Ukrainian-American who hails from Wilkes-Barre, PA.
A winner of many international competitions, Hrynkiw has performed on prominent concert stages in Europe and the United States, including New York’s Lincoln Center, Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington. His last performance here was in 2007 at the National Gallery of Art.
Hrynkiw is also known for his annual appearances at the Newport Festival in Rhode Island and for his long association with Metropolitan Opera basso Paul Plishka, accompanying him in concerts in the United States and abroad.
Nestor Cybriwsky comes from a long line of musicians with direct links to some of Ukraine’s greatest composers. His father George Cybriwsky found many of the manuscripts Nestor used during his own studies in Ukraine and Vienna. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he has been performing for more than 40 years — from Broadway to Carnegie Hall, to The Kennedy Center.
As Thomas Hrynkiw pointed out during a break in the program, he, Nestor Cybriwsky and violinist Amelia Christian are involved in a project of recording two CDs featuring the works of Ukrainian composers, including those in this concert program and others. He said he expects the project, which is sponsored by the Ukrainian Institute of America, to be completed in the Fall.
The Hrynkiw-Cybriwsky concert concluded the TWG Cultural Fund’s 2009-2010 Music Series, in which they were preceded by harpist Odarka Polanskyj Stockert, violinist Zino Bogachek and a few of his friends from the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, and violinist Oleh Krysa accompanied by Tatiana Tchekina.
Photo caption: Thomas Hrynkiw and Nestor Cybriwsky accepting flowers and the acclaim of the audience at the conclusion of their concert in Alexandria.
Reprinted with permission from The Ukrainian Weekly.