Ukrainian contemporary music festival

March 17 – 19, Kaufman Music Center, NYC

About the festival

Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival is an annual festival of contemporary Ukrainian music in New York.

It was held for the first time in 2020.


  • draw attention to the unique contribution of Ukraine to academic music
  • acquaintance of the audience with the works of the younger generation of Ukrainian composers

Target audience

The target audience of the event is the professional music community of New York and the USA as a whole; an audience interested in Ukrainian culture and Ukraine; audience interested in academic music.

Ukrainian contemporary music festival 2023

Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival (UCMF) for the 4th time returns to NY, the Kaufman Music Center, March 17-19, 2023, with tribute tо the “father” of Ukrainian music, Borys Liatoshynsky.  

Liatoshynsky is among Ukraine’s most important pedagogues, training entire generations of composers at the National Music Academy of Ukraine in Kyiv in the first half of the 20th century. The Festival will present Liatoshynsky’s music, including his string quartets, alongside works by his students, his students’ students, and present-day composers influenced by his work. 

Born in Zhytomyr in 1895, Borys Liatoshynsky was among the first students at the newly opened Kyiv Conservatory, where he studied with famed composer Reinhold Gliere. Liatoshynsky would himself spend most of his career in Kyiv except for a short period when he held a professorship at the Moscow Conservatory. His music spans a wide variety of genres and styles, from early impressionist piano works to atonal experiments to symphonies and operas. Liatoshynsky was also an influential pedagogue who taught the members of the so-called Kyiv Avant-Garde or the Sixtiers [Shistdesyatnyky], a generation of dissident composers who resisted the edicts of Socialist Realism. This cohort included Ukraine’s most famous living composer, Valentyn Sylvestrov. 

Programme 2023

The 2023 festival, entitled “A Tribute to Borys Liatoshynsky”, will open with “Inspirations” on March 17, 2023. “Inspirations” will introduce audiences to the music of Liatoshynsky by placing his works alongside composers who inspired him, including Alban Berg (whose work Liatoshynsky championed), and Liatoshynsky’s own students, Valentyn Sylvestrov and Volodymyr Zahorstev, members of the Kyiv Avant-Garde. 

The second concert, “Evolutions”, on March 18, 2023, will chart the variety of ways Ukrainian music has developed since Liatoshynsky’s death by exploring the music of his “descendants.” This program includes pieces by contemporary Ukrainian composers who can trace their pedagogical genealogy to Liatoshynsky, including Serhii Vilka, Alex Voytenko, Andrii Didorenko, Anna Arkushyna, Olena Ilnytska, and Yana Shliabanska. 

In the final concert, “Conversations”, on March 19, 2023, Liatoshynsky’s Third and Fourth String Quartets will be presented alongside the String Quartet No. 3 of Béla Bartók, with whom he shared similar interests in national musics, and the Sextet of American composer Aaron Copland, whose own career chartered similar paths to those of his Ukrainian contemporary. 

Tickets start at $15, and are available for purchase on the Kaufman Music Center website or by calling (212) 501-3330. 

Read more here.

“Inspirations” | Friday, March 17, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. 

Kaufman Music Center, Merkin Hall 

129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023 

Borys Liatoshynsky, Violin Sonata, op. 19 (1926) 

Alban Berg, Vier Stücke for Clarinet and Piano, op.5 (1913) 

Borys Liatoshynsky, Two Romances, op. 8 (1921) [World premiere of original German text] 

Borys Liatoshynsky, Two Pieces for Viola and Piano, op.65 (1965) 

Valentyn Sylvestrov, Mystères (1964) 

Volodymyr Zahorstev, Volumes (1965) 

Borys Liatoshynsky, Concert Etude-Rondo, op.55 (1962, rev. 1967) 


“Evolutions” | Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. 

Kaufman Music Center, Merkin Hall 

129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023 

Serhii Vilka, Switchings (2020) [US premiere] 

Alex Voytenko, GZI, (2009, rev. 2014) [US premiere] 

Andrii Didorenko, Seven Ukrainian Folk Songs (2022) 

Anna Arkushyna, “…So they grow like sunflowers”, (2022) [US premiere] 

Olena Ilnytska, Nocturne for solo piano (2019) [US premiere] 

Yana Shliabanska, atropa belladonna (2022) [US premiere] 

Duo SAS 


“Conversations” | Sunday, March 19, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. 

Kaufman Music Center, Merkin Hall 

129 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023 

Borys Liatoshynsky, Quartet No. 3, op. 21 (1928) 

Béla Bartók, Quartet No. 3 (1927) 

Borys Liatoshynsky, Quartet No. 4, op. 43 (“Suite on Ukrainian Themes”) (1943) 

Aaron Copland, Sextet (1937) 

Ukrainian contemporary music festival 2022

The festival of modern Ukrainian music was held for the third time on March 18–20, 2022. The festival returned to an offline format and took place in a new permanent location – the Kaufman Music Center in New York.


The festival’s programme was formed long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and was focused on the theme “Landscape”, which set the tone for the entire musical agenda. The concerts traveled through ancient Ukrainian landscapes, revealed the mythological culture of nature and centuries of agrarian life, with a return to the modern city. During the three days of the festival, the musical interaction of man with nature was covered and three types of landscapes were covered – forest, field and city.

The full festival programme is available on the website

A significant part of the performers could not come to New York to play at the festival. In particular, well-known figures of the musical theater Roman Grygoriv and Illia Razumeiko were supposed to present their “Chornobyldorf Partita” at the Kaufman Music Center. They sent in a video of their performance, filmed while in the shelter after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The festival introduced the world to the achievements of Ukrainian music and acted as a platform to collect aid for Ukraine.

Ukrainian contemporary music festival 2021

In 2021, an online festival of contemporary Ukrainian academic music was held on the basis of the Ukrainian contemporary music festival in New York. The festival was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.

Festival theme: Voices Across Generations, (dedicated to 30 Years of Ukraine’s Independence) 

The festival programme consisted of three concerts:

  • Voices of the New Millenium  
  • Ukrainian Vanguard
  • Electronic Voices  

The following bands and musicians took part in the festival: Talea Ensemble,  Wash Heights, Chamber Orchestra, Desdemona, MIVOS Quartet, Hlib Kanasevych, Madison Greenstone, Lucy Vitkova, Yuliya Basis and Andrii Didorenko, Liera Sholokhova, Anna Shelest, Tristan Kasten-Krause, Rita Mitzel, Heather O’Donovan, Jennifer Gleer, Joanna Meleshko, Gerson de la Rosa, Lavinia Pavlish, Lindsay Eckenroth.

A mini-lecture by Lyubov Morozova, a Ukrainian musicologist, critic, artistic director of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, was also held within the festival.

Ukrainian contemporary music festival 2020

In 2020, from February 28 to March 1, the Ukrainian contemporary music festival was held in New York for the first time.

The event was implemented in cooperation between the Ukrainian Institute and the Razom Inc organization.

As part of the festival, Ukrainian music was represented by works of composers from the late Soviet period to the present.

During the three days of the festival, the guests attended 3 concerts of modern academic Ukrainian music.

At Manhattan, compositions by Myroslav Skoryk, Valentyn Sylvestrov, Svyatoslav Lunyov, Lyudmyla Yurina, Yevhen Stankovych, Anna Korsun and many others were performed. In total, more than 30 musicians from New York and Ukraine took part in the festival.

All three events took place at different locations. Artistic venues for discussions and concerts were Hunter Сollege (the host), the Graduate Center and the Ukrainian Museum in Manhattan. 

“The idea of creating the festival came to me last year when I came to Ukraine to explore how Ukrainian music has changed since the Revolution of Dignity. Under the terms of the grant from the City University of New York that made this trip possible, I was also to organize a themed public event. The Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival 2020 became a happy combination of these two circumstances”,

Discussions within the Ukrainian contemporary music festival 2020

In particular, the guests of the festival were able to attend three discussions:

  • art discussion “50 years of Ukrainian culture: music, literature and art” with the participation of Mark Andrushchyk (Columbia University), Olena Martynyuk (Columbia University), Oksana Nesterenko (New York Stony Brook University) and others;
  • a discussion “Music and Revolution in Ukraine”, which was attended by Dr. Inessa Bazayev (a well-known connoisseur of Valentyna Sylvestrov work), Dr. Peter Shmelts, and the New York organizer of UCMF-2020, a professor at Gunter College, Dr. Leah Batstone;
  • discussion panel between Ukrainian composers, during which composers Anna Korsun (currently associate professor of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Netherlands), Svyatoslav Lunyov and Lyudmila Yuryna discussed contemporary art and music together with the legendary Leonid Grabovsky.

Each discussion block and round table was accompanied by a concert of works related to the topic of the previous discussion.

Ukrainian contemporary music festival
Ukrainian contemporary music festival
Ukrainian contemporary music festival
Ukrainian contemporary music festival
Ukrainian contemporary music festival
Ukrainian contemporary music festival
Ukrainian contemporary music festival