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From folksong to electronics, explore Ukraine's musical legacy

The Ukrainian flag waves in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.
Yehor Milohrodskyi/Unsplash
The Ukrainian flag waves in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

The music of Ukraine reflects its rich cultural heritage, with influences from Slavic, Asian, and folk traditions that went on to shape the broader world of classical music.

As we watch what unfolds in Ukraine, Classical KC invites you enjoy selected works from Ukrainian composers throughout history. Explore the range of talent and artistry that has shaped Ukraine's musical landscape.

Dmitri Bortnyansky (1751-1825): Let My Prayer Arise

Bortynyansky has been compared to Palestrina, and has made significant contributions to choral music – specifically, choral concertos.

Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912): Dumka-Shumka, Second Piano Rhapsody on Ukrainian Folk Themes, Op. 18

Lysensko founded the national school for composers in Ukraine. A skilled composer, pianist, and teacher himself, his compositions were devoted to reflecting Ukraine’s rich history and traditions.

Stefania Turkewich (1898-1977): Symphony No. 2

Stefania Turkewich is recognized as Ukraine’s first prominent female composer. Her works are modern, but recall Ukrainian folksongs that blend seamlessly with her newly composer melodies. Her music was banned in the Ukraine when under Soviet leadership, but has started to resurface in recent years.

Virko Baley (1938-): Nocturnal No. 6

Ukrainian-American composer Virko Baley is the former conductor of the Nevada Symphony Orchestra and works with various new music ensembles. He has scored films, and has won a Grammy award for his production work with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Myroslav Skoryk (1938-2020): Cello concerto

A prolific composer and teacher, Myroslav Skoryk’s work has influenced many contemporary Ukrainian composers and is performed around the world.

Stanyslav Lyudkevych (1879-1979): Violin concerto in A major

Along with being a composer, Lyudkevych was a musicologist and musical activist. He wrote and edited many musical publications, including the "Artistic Bulletin" magazine.

Yevhen Stankovych (1942-): Ukrainian Poem for violin and orchestra

Stankovych’s works have been performed on stages around the world and feature strong ties to Ukrainian history, including a ballet based on the life of Princess Olga. His folk-opera "When the Fern Blooms" was written in the 1970s, but was banned by Soviet authorities until 2011.

Hanna Havrylets (1958-): "Chorale" for strings

Hanna Havrylets’ contributions to Ukrainian classical music earned her the Ukrainian Shevchenko National Prize in 1999 and she became a Merited Artist of Ukraine in 2005. She writes for symphonic, choral, and chamber ensembles.

Alla Zagaykevych (1966-): Heroneya

A contemporary classical musician, performance artist, and activist, Zagaykevych led the trend of experimental electronic music in the Ukraine. Her work is rooted in traditional Ukrainian folk songs while exploring unique instrumentation and forward momentum.

DahkaBraka (active 2004 -)

The quartet exemplifies contemporary art in Ukraine and around the world. Blending traditional Ukrainian folksongs with soul, jazz, and punk, their sound is unique and universal.

Brooke Knoll is the digital audience specialist and afternoon host for Classical KC. You can reach her at