The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

With the restoration of Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the Lviv Philharmonic became an essential part of the musical life of not only Lviv but the whole country.

It was within the walls of the Philharmonic that new musical groups and festivals, known not only in Ukraine but also abroad, were formed, and new musical traditions were established that still represent the artistic life of Ukraine today. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Philharmonic has been actively involved in the latest artistic trends: it invites renowned musicians from all over the world and creates interesting and unconventional programmes for every taste.

In particular, at the turn of the century, in May 1982, the Lviv Philharmonic founded an international music festival modelled on the world’s famous classical music forums. At that time, the All-Union Festival of Musical Art “Virtuosos of the Country” became an international festival in a few years: with its own recognisable logo, a well-formed concept, a large number of participants, and a reputation in the music world.

In 1990, it was transformed into the Virtuosos International Classical Music Festival, which has been successfully held to this day.

The festival very quickly became an integral attribute of Lviv in May, one of its cultural characteristics, a real celebration of musical art. It was during the festival that many large-scale pieces of European classical music were performed for the first time in the city, that the musical heart of Lviv began to beat faster – in the rhythm of daily intense concert programmes, and that the famous “serenades” – open-air concerts – were first performed here.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Віртуози-2021: Mozart in Green. На сцені: Варвара Васильєва (скрипка), Академічний симфонічний оркестр Львівської національної філармонії. Дириґує Наталія Стець


The posters of the Virtuosos have always been full of world-famous musicians: in the first years of the festival, Oleksandr Slobodianyk, Oleh Krysa, Bohodar Kotorovych, Gidon Kremer, and the Saulius Sondetskis Trampoline Chamber Orchestra performed on the Lviv stage. Over the years, the geography of the festival expanded, bringing virtuosos from Poland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, the USA, Canada, China, Japan, etc.

Ukrainian musicians of different generations have always occupied a worthy place alongside them: Oleh Kryshtalskyi, Maria Krushelnytska, Maria Krykh-Uhlyar, Maria Baiko, Yuriy Lysychenko, Oleksandr Slobodyanyk, Oleh Krysa, Bohodar Kotorovych, Maria Tchaikovska, Roman Hrynkiv, Oleh Poliansky, Dmytro Tkachenko, Myroslava Kotorovych, Olha Batystiuk, Lidiya Shutko and her son Ostap, Jozsef Ermin, Oksana Rapita, Etela Chupryk, Oleh Kaskiv, Oleh Rudnytsky, and many others.

Regular participants of the festival were the Lviv Chamber Orchestra “Academy” (whose members were traditionally the best students of the conservatory) and the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (today – the Academic Symphony Orchestra). The latter is today (as it has been for many decades) one of the leading philharmonic orchestras. It was this orchestra that mostly played one of the leading roles in the Virtuosi festival. After all, it was this orchestra that accompanied famous soloists, performed under the baton of renowned conductors, took part in premiere performances and presented intense festival programmes.

Since 1989, Ivan Yuziuk has been the orchestra’s chief conductor, with Roman Filipchuk and Yarema Kolessa as assistant conductors. Subsequently, Aidar Torybayev, Ilia Stupel, and Taras Krysa held the position of chief conductor.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Академічний симфонічний оркестр Львівської національної філармонії. Дириґент – Володимир Сивохіп


The orchestra’s history is marked by collaborations with renowned conductors, including Kirill Kondrashin, Fuat Mansurov, Nathan Rachlin, Lev Braginsky, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Reinhold Glier, Evgeny Mravinsky, Enrique de Mori, Everest Lee, Georges Oktors, Nicolae Popescu, Bruno d’Astoli, Napoleo Cies, Michuoshi Insue, Carmen Moral, and Akis Baltis, Thomas Sanderling, Kurt Masur, Saulius Sondetskis, Simon Camartin, Mischa Katz, Hans Jaskulsky, Roman Revakovych, Theodore Kuhar, and others, as well as Ukrainian conductors Stefan Turchak, Mykola Pokrovskyi, Fedir Hlushchenko, Ihor Blazhkov, Roman Kofman, Ivan Gamkalo, Volodymyr Kozhukhar, Volodymyr Sirenko, Mykola Diadiura, Viktor Ploskina, Hobart Earl, Yurii Ianko, and Victoria Zhadko.

In 2006, the Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra was awarded the title of Academic.

Since 2018, the orchestra has been fruitfully collaborating with the renowned American conductor of Ukrainian descent, Theodore Kuhar, who is the orchestra’s chief guest conductor. The young Ukrainian conductor Serhiy Khorovets also works with the orchestra.

Currently, the orchestra’s concertmasters are Honoured Artist of Ukraine Marko Komonko and Mykola Haviuk. The managing director of the orchestra is Mykhailo Sosnovskyi.

The orchestra has toured successfully in many countries around the world, including Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and China. Over the past few seasons, the orchestra has made a number of important recordings for major international music labels, including Naxos, Brilliant Classics and Toccata Classics.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Академічний симфонічний оркестр Львівської національної філармонії


In the first years of independence, at the turn of the 80s and 90s, the Philharmonic’s stage repeatedly became the centre of a general uplift. It was here that the first performances of the Ne Zhurys’ studio theatre took place – topical, witty, skilful, and always packed the house. It was in the Philharmonic that the Congress of Ukrainianists held evenings of the young generation of writers who were destined to become the legislators of new Ukrainian literature.

In the spring of 1991, the Philharmonic hosted the Music of the Ukrainian Diaspora festival, which featured unknown compositions (liturgies by I. Sonevytsky, A. Hnatyshyn, Z. Lavryshyn, Psalms by M. Kuzan, The Virgin Mary by M. Fomenko, Ukrainian Christmas from the Kurylyk Suite by Y. Fiala, Lacrimosa and Dies Irae by W. Ballade). Baley) and other works by authors of the Ukrainian diaspora – V. Vytvytskyi, V. Hridin, O. Koshyts, N. Nyzhankivskyi, A. Rudnytskyi, S. Turkevych-Lukiyanovych, F. Yakymenko, as well as a young Ukrainian artists from abroad – R. Revakovych (Poland), L. Kuzmenko, G. Kulesha, V. Sydorenko (Canada), L. Melnyk.

On the initiative of the Lviv Branch of the National Composers Union of Ukraine, in 1992, the festival “In Memory of the Holodomor Victims – Composers of Ukraine” was held (to mark the 60th anniversary of the tragedy), where works by I. Karabyts, M. Skoryk, and Y. Stankovych were performed.

Two years later, in 1994, the Philharmonic founded another ensemble, which for more than 25 years of its activity has managed to win great love from the public not only in Lviv, but also in various countries of Europe and the world.

The Academic Chamber Orchestra “Lviv Virtuosi” has very successfully continued the almost ten-year tradition of its predecessor, the Chamber Orchestra of the Lviv Philharmonic.

The founder and permanent artistic director of the orchestra is Serhiy Burko, Honoured Artist of Ukraine, People’s Artist of Ukraine, a well-known musician in Ukraine and abroad, and organiser of many artistic projects. The orchestra’s concertmaster is Honoured Artist of Ukraine Volodymyr Duda.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Академічний камерний оркестр “Віртуози Львова”. Дириґує Сергій Бурко


In 1995, the Contrasts International Festival of Contemporary Music was founded and has been successfully held to this day. The concept of the festival is aimed at presenting “contemporary Ukrainian music in the context of the world music” and “revealing the diversity of modern forms, styles, genres and interpretations”. The festival usually takes place in September-October. Along with such festivals as Two Days and Two Nights of New Music, Kyiv Music Fest and others, Contrasts is one of the leading festivals of contemporary classical music in Ukraine.

Contrasts was founded by conductor Roman Revakovych, composer Yurii Laniuk and musicologist Yarema Yakubiak. The artistic council also included Myroslav Skoryk (chairman) and Oleksandr Shchetynsky. For many years, Volodymyr Syvokhip has been the director of the festival. Since 2015, Bohdan Sehin has been the executive director of Contrasts.

The Contrasts programme includes works by contemporary composers, including premieres, as well as classics of the 20th century and past eras. Some concerts are based on the juxtaposition of “old” music with “new” music, when works of the Baroque or Classicism and music by contemporary composers can be performed at the same concert.

Over the years, Ukrainian music has played a significant role in the festival’s repertoire, including works by Valentyn Silvestrov, Yevhen Stankovych, Myroslav Skoryk, Viktor Kaminsky, Oleksandr Kozarenko, Yurii Laniuk, Ihor Shcherbakov, Oleksandr Shchetynskyi, Bohdana Frolyak, Hanna Havrylets, Bohdan Sehin, Volodymyr Runchak, and others. Among the famous participants of the festival: Krzysztof Penderecki (1996, 1999), Gia Kanceli (2014), Arvo Pärt (2001), Sofia Gubaidulina (2012), Sigmund Krause (2008), Saulius Sondetskis (2006), Leonid Graboskyi (2010), Bogusław Schaeffer (2005), Elżbieta Sikora (2011) and others.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Закриття Контрастів-2021 (10.10.2021). На сцені Академічний симфонічний оркестр Львівської філармонії. Дириґент – Вінсент Козловський


In 1998, the Swiss conductor Gungard Matthes, Myroslav Skoryk and Volodymyr Syvokhip founded the International Symphony Orchestra (INSO-Lviv), which was originally called the Festival Orchestra Lviv.

The long-time artistic director of the orchestra was People’s Artist of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko National Prize winner, Academician of the Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Professor, Candidate of Art History, Hero of Ukraine Myroslav Skoryk (1938-2020). Currently, Valeriy Sokolov is the artistic director of the orchestra. Since 2007, Iolanta Pryshliak has been the Chairman of the Board of the orchestra and the ideological inspirer of many projects and programmes. In October 2011, the INSO-Lviv Symphony Orchestra was granted academic status by a resolution of the Board of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine and a Decree of the President of Ukraine.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Академічний симфонічний оркестр “INSO-Львів”


Since 1998, the members of the Academic Instrumental Ensemble “High Castle” (artistic director – Andriy Yatskiv) have been devoting themselves to serving the “light muse”, which has always been very popular with the public at the Lviv Philharmonic. The colourful performance of folklore compositions and popular arrangements of classical music on traditional and folk instruments, which the musicians of the “High Castle” have embodied on several CDs and in concert programmes, has gained great recognition and love from the public, which has not faded to this day.

This tradition is also successfully continued by the Philharmonic soloists: Marian Shunevych, Marianna Laba, Vasyl Ponayda, Vitaliya Holubnycha, Oksana Kovaleva, Olha Feniuk, Iryna Stefanko, Natalia Dityuk, Nina Karpinets, Natalia Granovska, Lilia Vikaruk, Oksana Matsyegora, Oksana Savitska, and Iryna Zhovtolyst. With their participation, a variety of thematic concert programmes are held in the Philharmonic and in different parts of the Lviv region, featuring classical, folk and popular music. Children’s concerts are also an important part of the Philharmonic’s activities.

No less popular are the chamber philharmonic evenings with solo instrumentalists Olena Matseliukh (organ), Anna Ivaniushenko (harpsichord), Olena Markevych (piano), and Marianna Humetska (piano),

as well as the string quartet “Phoenix” (Mykola Haviuk – violin, Petro Tityaev – violin), Vadym Pedorych – viola, Denys Lytvynenko – cello), the quartet of performers on Ukrainian long-string flutes “Dudalis” (composed of: Natalia Pavliv, Olha Milosta, Bohdan Kravchenko, Iryna Hilyazova), the bandura quartet “Lvivianky” (Oksana Kolomiets, Lesia Stefanko, Iryna Plakhtii and Olena Nikolenko).

For many years, the Philharmonic evenings would not have been possible without the introductions and comments of musicologists Natalia Samotos and Sofia Ivanova, who continue to lead the audience through the worlds of music. The thematic events would not have been possible without the spoken word artists Inna Pavliuk and Liliia Vynnytska.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Академічний інструментальний ансамбль “Високий замок”


In addition to Virtuosos and Contrasts, the Lviv National Philharmonic has also become home to many festivals, music marathons and competitions.

In particular, since 2012, in cooperation with the Ignacy Paderewski Foundation (Polsko-Ukrainska Fundację Ignacego Jana Paderewskiego), the Philharmonic has been hosting the festival “Discovering Paderewski” (“Odkrywamy Paderewskiego”). The festival is dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a pianist and world-renowned composer who combined Polish, Ukrainian and American cultures in his work. Each year, the festival programme includes concerts and performances by renowned artists from around the world and is based on the work of musicians who played an important role in Paderewski’s development as a composer, as well as contemporary artists who mention Paderewski in their own works.

The international cooperation also includes the annual Lubomirski Festival, dedicated to the famous cultural patron whose activities contributed to the creative success of Rubinstein, Szymanowski, Karlovich, Sheluto, Ruzycki and Fitelberg. The festival is held annually in many European cities, including Lviv. Traditionally, it features an international line-up of performers. They perform Ukrainian and Polish music, as well as well-known classical compositions.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Фестиваль Любомирського у Львівській філармонії (2019 рік)


A special place among the Philharmonic’s projects is occupied by events in memory of opera singer and Hero of Ukraine Vasyl Slipak: The International Music Marathon in Memory of Wassyl Slipak (W LIVE) and the Wassyl Slipak Young Vocalists Competition (W CONTEST).

The W LIVE International Music Marathon is an opportunity to bring together the best musicians from around the world who knew and worked with the singer on one stage; to honour the memory of Ukraine’s Hero who died during the war in eastern Ukraine; to show the audience how powerful classical music can be and how many modern interpretations it can have. The main credo of the marathon is life: the uniqueness of each person’s life; life that is priceless; life in a free world, free from war, free from hatred, life in a world of mutual respect and freedom. It has been held annually in the last days of June since 2017.

The Wassyl Slipak Young Vocalists Competition is organised by the Lviv National Philharmonic in cooperation with the Department of Culture, Nationalities and Religions of the Lviv Regional State Administration with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Lviv Regional State Administration, Lviv Regional Council and the Vasyl Slipak Foundation. Since 2017, the competition has been held in four nominations (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone/bass) and in two age categories: Category I (16 to 21 years old), Category II (22 to 30 years old).

For many years, the Lviv Philharmonic has also been a partner of the Oleh Krysa International Violin Competition, which has been held since 2013 by the World of Classical Music Art Association.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Гала-відкриття Конкурсу імені Василя Сліпака у 2021 році


Small themed festivals and marathons on the occasion of the anniversaries of world-famous composers have already become traditional for the Lviv National Philharmonic: “Mozart BirthDay (held on Mozart’s birthday, in the last days of January), Bach Birthday (in the last days of March) and Beethoven’s music evenings (traditionally held in December).

Concert life in the Lviv Philharmonic does not stop throughout the year, even during the summer and winter “holidays”. Two summer festivals have gained great popularity among the public: The Pizzicato e Cantabile Summer Festival (held since 2016, directed by Olena Matseliukh) and the Music in Old Lviv International Music Festival (held since 2014, directed by Serhii Burko). In winter, in the first days of January, classical music lovers have been attending the events of the Bach Contemporary festival for several years in a row.

The concert series “Terra Barocco” (baroque music concerts), “Sound Object” (chamber music of different centuries performed by young musicians), “Conductors. In Ukrainian” (concerts with the participation of young Ukrainian conductors), “Pro et Contra” (a series of contemporary music concerts), “Family Concerts” (children’s concerts for the youngest), etc.


Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Сімейні концерти у Львівській національній філармонії


In 2018, according to the decree of the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko No. 286/2018, the Lviv Philharmonic was granted the status of “national”. Since September 2020, the Philharmonic has been named after Myroslav Skoryk.

In 2021, the Lviv National Philharmonic, in cooperation with the Department for Culture, Nationalities and Religions of the Lviv Regional State Administration, with the support of the Lviv Regional State Administration and the Lviv Regional Council, launched the Myroslav Skoryk All-Ukrainian Composition Competition. The competition is dedicated to the memory of the outstanding composer. It will be held every two years, and its main task is to support and promote the symphonic creativity of a new generation of young Ukrainian composers, to preserve and develop the traditions of the national school of composition, of which Myroslav Skoryk is a prominent representative.

On 8 October 2021 in Lviv at the concert of the 27. Contrasts International Contemporary Music Festival, the results of the First Myroslav Skoryk All-Ukrainian Composition Competition were announced and the winners were awarded. The first prize winner was composer Maksym Kolomiets. He received the award for his work “Espenbaum”. Nadiia Kurinna and Yevhen Petrov won the second and third prizes for their compositions “Emanatio” and “Ziiava”.

Lviv National Philharmonic - The Philharmonic at the present stage (1991-present)

Оголошення переможця Першого Всеукраїнського композиторського конкурсу імені Мирослава Скорика (жовтень 2021)


Today, the Lviv National Philharmonic is one of the leading concert halls in Ukraine and one of the few artistic institutions that successfully operates three orchestras. Every year, the Philharmonic hosts more than 1,000 events to suit all tastes, including major symphony programmes, premieres of the latest compositions, concerts of contemporary music and chamber music from different centuries, programmes of popular classical, jazz and pop music, competitions, exhibitions, masterclasses and events for young musicians, as well as concerts for the youngest. Numerous projects annually bring together thousands of musicians from around the world.

Since 2006, the director and artistic director of the Lviv National Philharmonic has been Volodymyr Syvokhip, People’s Artist of Ukraine, Honoured Artist of Ukraine, winner of the Mykola Lysenko State Prize, renowned musician, musicologist, artistic director and conductor of the Gloria Chamber Choir.

October 2021


Photos by Danylo Kartashov, Anastasiia Ivanova, Iryna Sereda, Oleksandr Shamov, Serhii Horobets were used in the article