Myroslav Mykhaylovych Skoryk (born July 13, 1938, Lviv (then Poland, now Ukraine) – died June 1, 2020, Kyiv, Ukraine), outstanding Ukrainian composer, musicologist, teacher, public figure, artistic director of the Kiev Opera, a member (Academician) of Ukrainian Academy of Arts, People’s Artist of Ukraine, a winner of numerous awards, Hero of Ukraine. Skoryk wrote music for one of the best films directed by Sergei Paradzhanov Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini zabutykh predkiv). He is the author of numerous piano compositions, operas, ballets, cantatas, orchestral works, etc.
Myroslav Skoryk was born in Lviv, Ukraine, in 1938 (then it was a part of Poland). His father, Mykhaylo Skoryk, was a historian and an ethnographer, while his mother, Maria Skoryk (Okhrimovich), was a chemist. His parents were not professional musicians, but his mother liked to play the piano and his father liked to play the violin. Myroslav’s mother was a relative of such prominent artists as a singer Solomiya Krushelnytska, folklorist Volodymyr Okhrimovich and artist Yaroslava Muzyka. The famous singer Solomiya Krushelnytska, his grandmother’s sister, often visited them. She noticed that Myroslav had absolute pitch, it was Krushelnytska who advised his parents to send him to music school. He started studying music at music school in Lviv in 1945.
In 1947, the family were repressed on political grounds and deported to Anzhero-Sudzhensk (Kemerovo region) in Siberia. Being there the future composer continued his studies at a music school. After Joseph Stalin’s death (1953) the Skoryks were allowed to return to Lviv, they returned home in 1955.
In 1955-1960 Myroslav Skoryk studied at the Lviv State Lysenko Conservatoire, there he studied music history and theory with Stanislav Lyudkevych, and composition with Roman Simovych and Adam Soltys. Then he began to create piano compositions. The well-known Ukrainian and Russian performers willingly included them in their repertoire. Skoryk’s achievements were noticed and highly appreciated by the composer Dmitry Shostakovich.
In 1960, Skoryk enrolled in the postgraduate research program at Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire (he studied with the celebrated Dmitry Kabalevsky) and completed it in 1964. His dissertation has the title The Model System of Prokofiev (Osoblyvosti ladu muzyky S. Prokofieva).
Since 1963 he had been working at the Department of Music Theory and Composition of the Lviv State Lysenko Conservatoire. In the same year, he joined the Union of Ukrainian Composers (he was the youngest member of this organization at that time). In 1964, Skoryk wrote music for one of the best films directed by Sergei Paradzhanov Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini zabutykh predkiv) based on the story by Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky. In the mid sixties, the composer turned to the genre of ballet, creating a one-act work based on the verse by Ivan Franko Stonemasons (Kamenyari). But the most popular was his Carpathian Concert (Karpatsʹkyi kontsert) for the orchestra (1973), which has been successfully performed in many countries of Europe and America. In 1968, Skoryk moved to Kyiv and hold the post of the teacher of composition at the Petro Tchaikovsky State Conservatoire (now Petro Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine).
In the ’70s-’90s the composer wrote the Ukrainian operas such as At the Rusalkas Easter (Na Rusalchyn Velykden) by Mykola Leontovych, Kupalo by Anatol Vakhnyanin, Roksoliana by Denys Sichinsky, Youth Symphony (Yunatsʹka symfoniya) by Nikolai Lysenko, Our Father (Otche nash) by Maxim Berezovsky. However, he continued to write music for theater and cinema.
In 1984, Skoryk became a professor at the Composition Department of the Lviv Conservatoire, at the same time he taught composition at the Kyiv Conservatoire. In 1987, he finally returned to his hometown, Lviv. The composer headed the Composition Department at the Lviv Conservatoire. Skoryk became the head of the Union of Ukrainian Composers.
He has been working for a long time in the United States, since 1996 – in Australia, in the late 1990s he returned to Ukraine. Skoryk was the head of the Composition Department of the Lviv National Musical Academy, he continued to work intensively as a composition teacher, he was also the head of the chamber orchestra of the academy, for which some of his works were written.
Myroslav Skoryk simultaneously taught composition at the Petro Tchaikovsky National Music Academy in Kyiv. In 1999, he headed the Institute of Musical Ukrainian Studies and the Ukrainian Music Department at the Petro Tchaikovsky National Music Academy. In the same year he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Arts of Ukraine. Since 2002 he has been the artistic director of the festival Kyiv Music Fest. In 2005 Skoryk was the jury chairman of the festival Chervona Ruta, in 2006-2010 he was a co-chairman of the National Union of Ukrainian Composers. Since 2009 Skoryk has been the artistic director of the Youth Academic Symphony Orchestra INSO-Lviv. In April 2011 he was appointed the artistic director of the Kiev Opera. He is one of the organizers of the international music festival the Contrasts (Kontrasty), which takes place annually in Lviv.
Myroslav Skoryk is one of the brightest representatives of the modern generation of composers. His music, combining a vibrant national colour and modern musical technique, was in the repertoire of many Ukrainian and foreign performers and musical ensembles. This includes Hutsul Triptych (Hutsulʹsʹkyy tryptykh), and Carpathian Concert for the symphony orchestra, three piano and eight violin concertos, as well as a concert for cello and orchestra, seven partitas, two sonatas for violin and piano, numerous piano compositions, violin and chamber ensembles. His Melody (Melodiya) received wide popularity.
The composer created a number of monumental works, including the Spiritual Concerto (Dukhovnyy kontsert) for mixed choir a cappella and soloists, the opera Moses (Moysey), based on the poem by Ivan Franko, the ballets Crossroads (Perekhrestya) and Caprisis (Kaprysy), the ballet The Return of Butterfly (Povernennya Batterflyay), the composer used the fragments of the opera Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, cantata Gamalia for mixed choir, soloists and symphony orchestra, based on verses by Taras Shevchenko.
The works of Myroslav Skoryk are performed in the USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and the Baltic countries. The composer often performs his own works as a conductor and pianist. Skoryk presently resides in Ukraine, and travels frequently to concertise and lecture in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia.
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