By Yurii CHEKAN, Doctor of Arts. Kyiv Conservatory was launched November 3, 1913, based on the Music College under the aegis of the Russian Imperial Music Society. This was preceded by a number of events and initiatives. The key role was played by Kyiv’s highly professional music schools and drama and concert companies, including the Mykola Lysenko music-and-drama school, the Imperial Society’s college, and Kyiv Opera.
Among the founding fathers were Anton Rubinstein (he actually conceived the idea when visiting Kyiv in 1880, saying that Russia’s south was rich in musical talent and ought to have long had a conservatory of music), Peter Tchaikovsky (he held Kyiv music professors in esteem), Alexander Glazunov (he supported the idea of reorganizing the music college as a conservatory), Sergei Rachmaninoff (he praised the music education process in Kyiv), Volodymyr Pukhalsky (the college manager of Ukrainian descent, pianist and composer who kept sending petitions to the Russian government, asking for just that kind of reorganization), Kyiv City Duma that helped the process, and certainly local patrons of the arts, among them Mykhailo Tereshchenko, who donated 50,000 rubles for the national conservatory project.
Over the past hundred years, Kyiv Conservatory (currently officially known as the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine) has turned into one of the world’s most prestigious education centers in the field. Among its graduates are internationally acclaimed musicians, singers, and conductors, such as Vladimir Horowitz, Heinrich Neuhaus, Ivan Kozlovsky, Yevhenia Miroshnychenko, Anatolii Solovianenko, Natan Rakhlin, Stefan Turchak; composers Levko Revutsky, Borys Liatoshynsky, Valentyn Sylvestrov, and Yevhen Stankevych. Many of its graduates tour Europe, the US, Australia, China, and Japan. Many remain music professors, sharing their experience, always remembering their alma mater with gratitude.
At present, the National Music Academy boasts a teaching staff including nine recipients of the Hero of Ukraine Order, 14 academicians and corresponding members of the National Art Academy, 63 People’s Artists and 38 Merited Artists of Ukraine, 35 Doctors of Art and 100 candidates to this degree. Several thousand foreign graduates across the world are proud to display their Ukrainian National Music Academy diplomas.
Naturally, such a festive occasion should have a special agenda. As previously reported, the “Vivat Academia!” International Grand Festival is underway in Kyiv (September 20-December 20, 2013), featuring the best national and foreign performers. Each day, the National Music Academy’s Big and Small halls accommodate concerts of the Academy’s Outstanding Graduates, Professor and Pupil, Academy Guest, World Opera Masterpieces, Unforgettable Names, New Ukrainian Pianists Generation, and Master and School series. Prior to the festivities, a book was published, a documentary made, the National Bank issued a commemorative coin, and Ukrposhta put out a commemorative envelope.
Several most spectacular events took place during the festivities.
First, the tolling of bells at the churches of all confessions on November 3, marking the centennial.
Second, the Solemn Mass and thanksgiving at the Dormition Cathedral on the grounds of the Kyiv Pechersk Cave Monastery (the ritual involved four professional choirs conducted by academy graduates and professors).
Third, the first gala charity soiree, organized by the Terestchenko [sic] Heritage Foundation (Michel Terestchenko, the famous Ukrainian philanthropist’s French-born grandson, currently residing in Paris, took an active part in the arrangements and established a scholarship in memory of his celebrated great-grandfather).
And also a major gala soiree took place at the National Opera on November 5, which will be followed by a series of concerts in the National Music Academy’s Big and Small halls, music soirees commemorating the legendary conductor, Stefan Turchak, and the unmatched coloratura soprano, Yevhenia Miroshnychenko, a competition for young pianists under the aegis of People’s Artist Denis Matsuev (Russia), and Rachmaninoff December Music soirees.