XX Lviv Early Music Festival will begin in August


The annual International Lviv Early Music Festival in 2023 will be held from August 8 to 15. This year is the anniversary and will be held within the framework of the project “Ukraine. Muses Are Not Silent”, launched by the Myroslav Skoryk Lviv National Philharmonic with the full-scale military invasion of Russia in Ukraine.

The rich history of the Festival — since 2003 — reminds us of numerous extraordinary events in the Ukrainian cultural scene. After all, this is the only festival in Ukraine that presents the early music of different European countries in such a volume and at such a professional level – vocal and instrumental, church and secular, operatic and oratorio. Founded by the famous musician Roman Stelmaschuk and, after his untimely death, continued by the director of a well-known vocal ensemble “A Cappella Leopolis” Liudmyla Kapustina, this year festival will once again be held at the Lviv National Philharmonic. All its concerts will be dedicated to Roman Stelmashchuk.

During 6 concert days, 5 exceptional programs will be presented from the works of the Ukrainian and European Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque and early classicism. Famous Ukrainian musicians will perform at the Early Music Festival, as well as foreign participants from Poland (harpsichordist Marek Toporowski), Germany (Norbert Rodenkirchen) and France (Benjamin Bagby).

A pilgrim sets off on an unknown road, just as a listener gets familiarised with a piece of music. However, every road, like the best music, can be explored anew. And so many still unknown masterpieces are hidden from us by the veil of time! The world is getting acquainted with ancient Ukrainian music, and it turns out that it nurtured the best achievements and created new laws on a global scale. Therefore, the subtitle of the Festival will be the phrase “Pilgrims of the Unknown Pathway”. Even despite the state of war in Ukraine, artistic life must continue, and in the most difficult conditions, remind us of the value of artistic expression from the distant past to the still unknown future.

Calendar of events

From August 8 to 10, the famous German musician Norbert Rodenkirchen will hold master classes for Ukrainian flautists and improvisation sessions with Lviv musicians at the Experimental Electroacoustic Music Studio of the Mykola Lysenko Lviv National Music Academy. He will also give a lecture entitled: “New Sounds in Ancient Music / Ancient Sounds in New Music”.

As part of the creative laboratory, together with Norbert Rodenkirchen, the well-known Lviv musician-multi-instrumentalist Vsevolod Sadovyi will be a participant in educational lectures-presentations that will acquaint listeners with issues of modern performance techniques in ancient music, and archaic techniques in modern music. The research focus is on natural patterns of early musical practices: interest in sound creation, instrumentation, musical form – as a reflection of cultural evolution and development of mindset.

Lviv National Philharmonic - XX Lviv Early Music Festival will begin in August

The 20th Jubilee Festival pays tribute to those artists who passed away, but left behind priceless treasures of service to humanity. These are Roman Stelmashchuk, the ideological inspiration and founder of the Festival (1965–2015), and Oleksandr Kozarenko, a composer, pianist, and musicologist who left the artistic community this year (1963–2023). On August 10, “Gloria” Chamber Choir (Volodymyr Syvokhip, art-director,  Mariana Ferendovych, conductor) will perform the program. It’s amazing how the admiration for the avant-garde, intimate biblical motives and the true Ukrainian essence are combined in his work. It’s amazing how much remains unexplored for us, musical pilgrims: so let’s “set the sails” and begin.

Lviv National Philharmonic - XX Lviv Early Music Festival will begin in August

On August 11, we invite you to a musical meeting of old friends, ardent apologists of their high craft and researchers of the secret depths of antiquity. We are sure that it will lead to a new stage in the formation of harpsichord performance in Lviv: just as the name of the concert is aimed at the future, so we all expect the coming of age and creation to unprecedented heights. The program of the performance of Svitlana Shabaltina and Marek Toporovsky includes the best examples of music that hides the memory of the noble times of the European dawn. Do not expect a competition for titles or a battle for the recognition of the most professional: after all, will there be equal competitors for both musicians at all?..

Lviv National Philharmonic - XX Lviv Early Music Festival will begin in August

An evening of music-making by three on August 12 will reveal the secrets of what complex tricks human souls travel in order to understand each other. The selected works of recognized European authors evoke an absolutely childlike openness to the surrounding world and defenselessness, and also convince us of the superiority of that incomprehensibly beautiful art of ancient ages, before which we bow our heads in contemplation. Such a range of emotions can be felt only a few times in a lifetime: it will be presented by Uliana Makieieva (oboe), Serhii Havryliuk (baroque violin) and Anna Ivaniushenko (harpsichord).

Lviv National Philharmonic - XX Lviv Early Music Festival will begin in August

Returning to the topic of travel, August 13 will be the Closing of the Festival in Lviv. voyage could also be allegorical, teaching the listeners about the inner voyage to redemption and self-knowledge. In the northern, pagan worldview, the body and soul of a dead king traveled to his final resting place, taking an unknown route. The cold northern seas carried battle-hardened men fleeing from trouble or searching for a friendly shore. This program by the world-renowned collective “Sequentia”, coming to Ukraine for the second time, composed of Benjamin Bagby and Norbert Rodenkirchen, explores some of these facets of the medieval traveler and his world.

This festival event will be repeated on August 15 in Kyiv. And on August 14, “Musical Bridges” will take place: the famous Ukrainian harpsichordist Anna Ivanyushenko is convinced: “Baroque music, thanks to its harmony and absolutely selfless beauty, is able to heal souls.” What other moods can be expected at this concert, which built bridges over the work of Ukrainian and European composers? Sophisticated “Mysterious Obstacles”, topical “Cannonades” and many other discoveries on a journey through the countries of Germany and France will be presented by a duet of baroque masters of the Lviv National Philharmonic.

Partners of the Festival’s events are the Goethe-Institut Ukraine and Zamus: Zentrum für Alte Musik Köln, as well as the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine.