Listen to these 7 Ukrainian composers to discover the country’s rich cultural heritage

War wreaks havoc on a nation’s cultural heritage and identity, as the tragic events in Ukraine remind us that sent curators scrambling to save precious works of art.

It’s in times like this that music – a living art – can be a critical beacon for people as a source of unifying strength. So, together, we celebrate Ukrainian heritage by discovering Ukrainian classical composers. Hear their works while reading about the lives of several Ukrainian composers – many of whom you may not have heard of and some of whom are still living.

(Be sure to continue down to save a Spotify playlist with each composer.)

Valentin Silvestrov (1937-)

Trained in piano and composition in the schools of kyiv, Silvestrov enjoys a solid reputation in the contemporary classical world: leading composers Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt called him among the greatest composers of their generation. After establishing himself as one of the leaders of the “kyiv avant-garde”, he notably broke with the experimental style of his contemporaries to create instead his own post-modernist tonal style called “metamusic”.

Silvestrov’s love for his country can be seen in his work, including his song cycle ‘Prayer for Ukraine’ and ‘Maidan 2014’, both written as he spoke out against earlier Russian-Ukrainian unrest circa 2014. This choral piece, “Diptych,” is based on a poem by beloved Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko called “Zapovit” (“Testament”) which professes the author’s love for his homeland.

Silvestrov recently fled Ukraine and lives in Berlin.

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