WASHINGTON —Written by Yaro Bihun. As autumn arrived in this nation’s capital, Ukrainian Americans and other music lovers knew that the time had come for The Washington Group Cultural Fund to launch the 2016-2017 Music Series, its annual showcasing of Ukrainian culture in this nation’s capital area.

The annual series began on Sunday, October 2, at the Lyceum, the historic venue in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, just south of the capital.

And the honor fell on Ukrainian pianist Mykola Suk, who — as the Cultural Fund’s co-director Christine Lucyk noted in her opening remarks — hardly needs an introduction in this capital area, having performed here at two previous TWGCF concerts and other venues, including the National Gallery of Art.

“An internationally recognized and critically acclaimed pianist, first-prize winner at the 1971 Liszt-Bartok competition, his career has spanned four continents,” she said — with her co-director Anna Rikova standing beside her — noting that he is “not a stranger to Washington audiences.”

Mykola Suk began this year’s program with three fantasies — by Beethoven, Johan Nepomuk Hummel and Sigismond Thalberg. And after a brief intermission he continued with Myroslav Skoryk’s Partita #5 Fantasies “in modo retro”, which Skoryk composed and dedicated to Mykola Suk, and concluded with Franz Liszt’s Fantasia quasi Sonata.

As in his previous performances here, the audience’s standing ovation reaction was rewarded with Mykola Kolessa’s preludes and then with three more encores.

As Chrystine Lucyk noted in her opening remarks, she and Anna Rykova were elected this year to take over the directorship of The Washington Group Cultural Fund, founded twenty years ago to foster and promote Ukrainian culture in the Washington area. Since then it has sponsored 135 events, including concerts, lectures, exhibitions and film screenings.

“Our programing has sought to represent the creativity and breadth of Ukraine’s musical tradition and the artistry of its people,” she said.

The 2016-2017 Sunday Music Series will continue November 13 with jazz pianist John Stetch; on March 12, 2017, with violinist Solomia Soroka, pianist Arthur Greene and composer Yevhen Stankovych; and is scheduled to conclude May 21 with a concert by violinist Oleh Krysa, another popular repeat artist in this area.

Chrystine Lucyk pointed out that, in addition to the Sunday Music Series, the Cultural Fund also continues to support a variety of other arts projects, including the following week’s concert by Canada’s women’s choir Vesnivka, and the screening of the film “Music of Survival” about the Ukrainian bandurist chorus that survived World War II.

Reprinted with permission from The Ukrainian Weekly.