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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka Launches Ukrainian Art Songs at Koerner Hall Nov. 2nd

Internationally renowned bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka launches Galicians I – The Art Songs with acclaimed Canadian opera singers at Koerner Hall

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Tickets Now on Sale!                   

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2014

Toronto, ON – On Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 3:00 p.m., in Koerner Hall, internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka launches the world premiere of Galicians I: The Art Songs, the latest recording in the Ukrainian Art Song Project (UASP). Hunka will be joined in performance by renowned Canadian opera singers Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabó, andMonica Whicher. They will be accompanied by pianist Albert Krywolt and featured artist, violinist Marie Bérard.

Hosted by Stuart HamiltonC.M., the concert features the world premiere performance of selected art songs by four of Ukraine’s Galician composers.

Produced by composer and opera director Roman Hurko, Galicians I: The Art Songs is the first of three volumes of art songs by Galician composers. Included in the latest recordings are the works of: Denys Sichynsky (late-romantic), Stanyslav Liudkevych (post-romantic), Vasyl Barvinsky (impressionist), and Ukraine’s first female composer Stefania Turkewich (modernist). When completed, the entire three-volume collection will include the works of 12 composers. 

Recognized as the largest recording project of classical music, the Ukrainian Art Song Project was founded in 2004, in Canada, by Pavlo Hunka and is a long-term significant Canadian non-profit music venture, operated and managed by a volunteer board.  It has been the mission of the Project to find, record, preserve, promote and disseminate over 1000 art songs by 26 of Ukraine’s most eminent classical composers. The 15-year undertaking to record these classic songs has attracted a stellar cast of world-renowned musicians, under the artistic direction of Hunka and Hurko.

Pavlo Hunka, the artistic director, made a personal commitment, which is supported by many donors of the project, to elevate Ukrainian culture in classical spheres. Up until the past few years, these songs have never previously been heard or showcased. Originating in the 1800s, many of these art songs could not be sung: the use of the Ukrainian language was not permitted as a medium of communication, even in the music of the people.

Indeed, some of these composers, including Vasyl Barvinsky, were harshly treated for writing these works. Barvinsky’s works were publicly burned in the square of the Lviv Conservatoire which he headed. Subsequently, he was sent to Siberia for 10 years and upon his release he set about rewriting as many works as he could from memory. This recording contains 16 of his works which came about as a result of his recollections.

Determined to see this project through to its completion, Pavlo Hunka observes: “The turmoil in Ukraine at present is temporarily stifling Ukrainian culture. This is all the more reason for the Ukrainian Art Song Project to continue its work, giving Ukraine a most positive voice in the world; reminding all that, once the troubles have settled and peace returns, Ukraine is a cultured, cultivated and civilized nation.”

This event marks the launch of the fourth CD collection of works to be recorded and performed by Canadian artists in Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio. The Project’s library currently includes recordings of works by: Mykola Lysenko, Yakiv Steopovyi and Kyrylo Stetsenko.

The late Richard Bradshaw, general director of The Canadian Opera Company, wholeheartedly endorsed the launch of this project. Bradshaw recognized the value, uniqueness and beauty of the Ukrainian art songs. He personally guided Pavlo Hunka in his choice of studio, the recording and sound engineers, and the artists.

Tickets for The Galicians I: The Art Songs range from $40 - $80. They can be purchased in person at Koerner Hall Box Office, 273 Bloor Street West; online at; or by calling 416-408-0208.

Following the concert, guests can purchase copies of the CD recording ofGalicians I for the special one-time price of $50. The artists taking part in the concert and featured on the recording will be available to autograph the CD.  

The Ukrainian Art Song Project is a project of the Canadian Ukrainian OperaAssociation. For more information on the Project, log on

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