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KYIV Chamber Choir

The Kyiv Chamber Choir is considered Ukraine's top choir; the events of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 brought its work to a wider audience. The group has recorded prolifically, making albums distributed by both Ukrainian and Western labels. The Kyiv Chamber Choir was founded in December of 1990 by Mykola Hobdych, who remains its conductor. It has also recorded under the Russian form of its name, the Kiev Chamber Choir. The singers were, and are professionals, recruited from conservatories and music schools around Ukraine. The young choir quickly spread its wings, entering contests well beyond Ukraine, and it experienced impressive success, taking top prizes at the International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, Germany, in 1992; the Hajnówka International Festival of Sacred Music in Poland, and the International Choral Competition in Sligo, Ireland, in 1993; and a second prize at the 49th International Choral Competition in Llangollen, Wales, in 1994. Soon, the choir began to receive invitations to perform at festivals in many countries, and it appeared at the First Avant-Garde Festival in Munich in 1993, the Rouen Festival in 1994, and Expo-2000 in Hannover, Germany, as well as many others in Ukraine and abroad. The Kyiv Chamber Choir performed before Pope John Paul II at an ecumenical worship service at the Colosseum in Rome in 2000. The Kyiv Chamber Choir has made some 40 recordings. Its first on an international label was made for Naxos in 1997, featuring Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 41. The group has recorded for Ukraine-based Origen Music, issuing performances of a variety of Ukrainian and Russian works; in 2008, the choir released One Thousand Years of Ukrainian Sacred Music. The choir also issued two albums of music by composer Valentin Silvestrov on the ECM label. Generally singing a cappella, the group performs music of various periods, genres, and nationalities but has especially championed that of contemporary Ukrainian composers, including not only Silvestrov but also Mykola Lysenko, Mykola Leontovych, and Kyrylo Stetsenko, among others. More than half of the works appearing on its recordings have been world premieres. The Kyiv Chamber Choir has toured widely, appearing in the U.S. at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the National Cathedral, and the White House. The group's 2019 "The Sounds of Ukraine" North American tour took it to major church venues in Washington, Chicago, Toronto, and many other cities. That year, the choir released the album Sacred Treasures: Masterpieces of Ukrainian Choral Music - XV-XIX Centuries on Origen Music; in 2022, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it became a best-seller.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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