The establishment of Soviet power in Ukraine in the 1920s has proved to be a mixed blessing for musical development in Ukraine. On the one hand, state support for the art has strengthened the music education system, underwritten the printing of music journals and scores, and provided steady employment for musicians, composers, and music critics. On the other hand, however, the state has consistently fostered mediocre work in its demand for ideological conformity, especially after the consolidation of power in the hands of Joseph Stalin and the intensification of political control in the USSR in the 1930s. In the early 1930s socialist-realism was introduced as the only officially sanctioned so-called 'creative method' in Soviet literature, art, and music. Although it was more difficult to enforce the principles of this 'method' in music compared to literature or art, composers were consistently compelled to renounce 'formalist' experimentations and simplify their musical language in order to become 'closer to the working masses.' The Party-controlled Union of Soviet Composers, established in 1932, sought to 'educate' its members politically and ideologically and impose control over their creative output. Consequently, a large repertoire of lackluster works dedicated to Vladimir Lenin, the glory of the Communist Party, the memory of the Second World War, heroic women workers, and like themes were commissioned over the years. In spite of these constrictions, composers such as Lev Revutsky, Borys Liatoshynsky, Vasyl Barvinsky, Stanyslav Liudkevych, Viktor Kosenko, Valentyn Kostenko, Borys Yanovsky, Andrii Shtoharenko, Kostiantyn Dankevych, Yulii Meitus, Heorhii Maiboroda, Roman Simovych, Mykola Kolessa, and Anatol Kos-Anatolsky produced interesting and challenging works even during the most difficult period of the 1930s-1950s. This ideological pressure eased only in the 1960s, which allowed for the emergence of a new generation of Ukrainian composers... Learn more about the Ukrainian music of the socialist-realist period (1930s-1950s) by visiting the following entries:


KOSTENKO, VALENTYN, b 28 July 1895 in Urazovo, Valuiki county, Voronezh gubernia, d 14 July 1960 in Kharkiv. Composer, musicologist, and educator. As a youth he sang in the court kapelle in Saint Petersburg, and in 1921 he graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. From 1923 he taught at the Kharkiv Music and Drama Institute and served as musical director of Kharkiv Ukrainian Radio. In 1927–32 he headed the Association of Revolutionary Composers of Ukraine. His compositions, which were influenced by contemporary European music, include the operas Karmeliuk, Nazar Stodolia (based on the play by Taras Shevchenko), and The Carpathians; the ballet Reborn Steppe; the symphony The Year 1917; a suite for symphony orchestra; violin, piano, and choral pieces; and six string quartets. His scholarly publications include studies of Pavlo Senytsia (1922), the role of folk songs in Ukrainian music (1928), and the influence of German expressionism on Ukrainian music (1929). He also prepared a textbook on musical theory...

Valentyn Kostenko


SHTOHARENKO, ANDRII, b 15 October 1902 in Novi Kaidaky, now part of Dnipro, d 15 November 1992 in Kyiv. Composer and pedagogue. In 1912 he entered the Russian Music Society's music school in Katerynoslav. He organized his own orchestra in Dnipropetrovsk during the 1920s and taught singing in high schools. Shtoharenko was recruited in 1930 to study composition with Semen Bohatyrov at the Kharkiv Conservatory. He graduated in 1936 and gained immediate recognition with the symphonic cantata Pro kanal's'ki roboty (About the Canal Work, 1936). He occupied several key administrative positions in the musical hierarchy of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1944 he became vice-chairman of the Union of Composers of Ukraine, and in 1948-54 he was vice-chairman of the USSR Union of Composers. In 1954-68 he was a teacher of composition and rector of the Kyiv Conservatory. In 1968 he became head of the Faculty of Composition there and head of the Union of Composers of Ukraine. Shtoharenko's works include the symphonic cantata Ukraïno moia (My Ukraine, 1943), the Kyiv Symphony (1972), symphonic suites, a violin concerto, chamber and choral pieces, art songs, incidental music, and film scores. His biography, by M. Borovyk, was published in Kyiv in 1965. He was awarded the Shevchenko State Prize in 1974...

Andrii Shtoharenko


DANKEVYCH, KOSTIANTYN, b 24 December 1905 in Odesa, d 26 February 1984 in Kyiv. Composer, conductor, pedagogue. On graduating from the Odesa Institute of Music and Drama (now the Odesa State Music Academy) in 1929, he joined its staff. He became a professor there in 1948, serving as its director until 1951; in 1953 he took up a professorship at the Kyiv Conservatory. From 1956 to 1967 he was head of the Union of Composers of Ukraine. His works include the operas Trahediina nich (Tragic Night, 1935), Bohdan Khmelnytsky (1951; new version, 1953), and Nazar Stodolia (1960); the ballet Lileia (Lily, 1939); two symphonies (1937, 1945); the symphonic poems Otello (Othello, 1937) and Taras Shevchenko (1939); a string quartet; a trio; choral works; and film scores and art songs for solo voice. M. Mykhailov wrote a monograph on Dankevych (Kyiv 1959, 1964, 1974)...

Kostiantyn Dankevych


MAIBORODA, HEORHII, b 1 December 1913 at Pelekhivshchyna khutir, Kremenchuk county, Poltava gubernia, d 7 December 1992 in Kyiv. Composer. A student of Lev Revutsky, he graduated from (1941; graduate studies, 1949) and taught at (1952-8) the Kyiv Conservatory. In 1967-8 he served as head of the Union of Composers of Ukraine, and in 1967, 1971, and 1975 as deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR. His works commonly use heroic and patriotic themes in monumental forms, and achieved wide recognition among Soviet state authorities and the general public. He composed the operas Mylana (1957), Arsenal (1960), Taras Shevchenko (1964), and Yaroslav the Wise (1973); three symphonies (1940, 1952, 1976); a concerto for voice and orchestra (1969); the symphonic poems Lily, (text by Taras Shevchenko, 1939) and Kameniari (Stone-cutters, text by Ivan Franko, 1941); the vocal-symphonic poem Zaporozhians (text by Liubov Zabashta, 1954); and the orchestral Hutsul Rhapsody (1949). He also wrote songs to texts by Volodymyr Sosiura, Teren Masenko, Adam Mickiewicz, Lesia Ukrainka, I. Franko, and Pavlo Tychyna, as well as incidental music for William Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear. Together with L. Revutsky he edited and orchestrated piano and violin concertos by Viktor Kosenko. He was awarded the Shevchenko State Prize in 1963...

Heorhii Maiboroda


SIMOVYCH, ROMAN, b 28 February 1901 in Sniatyn, Galicia, d 30 July 1984 in Lviv. Composer and teacher. He graduated in composition and piano from the Prague Conservatory in 1933 and completed its Master School in 1936 in the composition class of V. Novák. From 1936 he taught at the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music in Drohobych and Stanyslaviv. From 1951 he lectured at the Lviv Conservatory (professor in 1963). His compositions include the ballet Dovbush's Sopilka (1948), seven symphonies (including the Hutsul [no. 1] and the Lemko [no. 2]); the symphonic poems Maksym Kryvonis (1954), Dovbush (1955), and In Memory of Ivan Franko (1956); overtures for symphony orchestra; a string quartet; numerous works for piano (two trios and two sonatas, three suites, a sonatina, and a fantasia); and works for choir with orchestra and for choir a cappella...

Roman Simovych


KOS-ANATOLSKY, ANATOL (real surname: Kos), b 1 December 1909 in Kolomyia, Galicia, d 30 November 1983 in Lviv. Composer and educator. A graduate of the law faculty of Lviv University (1931) and Lviv Conservatory (1934), he taught at the Stryi Branch of the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music (1934-7) and later at the Lviv Conservatory (1952-83). His works include the opera To Meet the Sun (1957, revised as The Fiery Sky, 1959); the ballets Dovbush's Kerchief (1951), The Jay's Wing (1956), and Orysia (1964); the operetta Spring Storms (1960); the cantatas It Passed a Long Time Ago (1961) and The Immortal Testament (1963); the oratorio From the Niagara to the Dnieper (1969); two piano concertos and two violin concertos; chamber music; piano pieces; and choral works. He was awarded the Shevchenko State Prize in 1980...

Anatol Kos-Anatolsky

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