Background and childhood
Arkady Filipenko was born in the urban-type settlement of Pushcha-Vodytsia, the suburb of Kiev. His father was a forester, his mother was a housewife. Arkady was orphaned at an early age and had to help to graze cattle to support himself. The shepherd taught him to play the sopilka (Ukrainian folk instrument, which commonly refers to a fife). Later Filipenko bought a balalaika and taught himself how to play it, as well as the mandolin and guitar.
Education and work
Arkady with his peers organized an amateur orchestra, which gave concerts in front of the students of their school. Although, music gained increasing importance in the young man’s life, he first decided to acquire a trade. In 1926, Filipenko entered the vocational school of river transport. After graduating from it, Arkady worked as a turner at a shipyard, and in 1929 he joined the Workers’ Youth Theatre (a Soviet proletarian youth theatre of the late 1920s and early 1930s). There the composer Ilya Vilensky noticed the gifted young man and invited him to attend a music school, where Vilensky was the headmaster. At the music school Filipenko learned to play the piano and studied music theory and composition.
In 1931, Filipenko entered the Workers’ Faculty at the Lysenko Music and Drama Institute (today the Kiev National University of theater, cinema and television of Karpenko-Kary). The course of study comprised music theory, solfeggio, piano, Russian and Ukrainian languages and mathematics.
When the Music and Drama Institute was transformed into a conservatory, Arkady Filipenko entered the Composing Department in the class of Levko “Lev” Mykolayovych Revutsky. He studied instrumentation with
Viktor Stepanovych Kosenko and analysis of musical forms with Boris Mykolayovych Lyatoshinsky.
During his student years, Arkady Filipenko created the satirical suite for piano Menagerie (Zverinets), the First and Second Sonatas and a string quartet.
After graduating from the conservatory in 1939, Filipenko was called up for military service and participated in World War II. After the war, Filipenko began composing music again: The Heroic Poem (1947), the Second String Quartet (1948) and other works. The Second String Quartet which depicted the struggles of the Soviet people during the war, brought the composer the USSR State Prize.
During this period, realizing the need to update and enrich the children’s repertoire, the composer turned to the genre of children’s music. Filipenko collaborated with the choir of the Kiev Teacher’s House. It was the choir that first performed many of the composer’s songs.
Arkady Filipenko’s best songs are Let’s go to the garden to pick raspberries (Po malinu v sad poydom), Snow-snow (Sneg-snezhok), Ded Moroz, Collect the harvest (Urozhay sobiray), We went to the meadow (My na lug khodili) and many others.
The composer also wrote children’s operas-games for preschoolers: In the Green Garden (V zelonom sadu), Merry Cosmonauts (Vesolyye kosmonavty), he also wrote music for kids’ films.: Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors (Korolevstvo krivykh zerkal; 1963), Barbara the Fair with the Silken Hair (Varvara-krasa, dlinnaya kosa; 1969), Golden Horns (Zolotyye roga; 1972).
In the 60s, Filipenko composed a vocal-symphonic poem The Thought of the Immortal Kobzar (Duma o bessmertnom Kobzare), a vocal-symphonic suite Together in Friendship (V druzhbe voyedino), Concert Waltz for a large symphony orchestra, the operetta The Naked President (Golyy president) and Sultan’s One Hundred and First Wife (Sto pervaya zhena sultana), music for the film Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka (Vechera na khutore bliz Dikan’ki), etc.
In the 70s, Filipenko created Third, Fourth and Fifth String Quartets (1971, 1977, 1979), Symphony for String Orchestra (1976), Chorus and Orchestra Glory to the Victorious People (Slava narodu-pobeditelyu).
Filipenko was also engaged in active social activities. In the mid-1950s he was executive secretary and vice-president of Ukrainian Composers Union. Since 1968 Filipenko was the secretary of the Board of the Soviet Composers Union.
Arkady Dmytrovych Filipenko died in Kyiv on August 24,1983.
You can find and download free scores of the composer: