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BRAMA, May 14, 2001, 10am EDT

Press Release

Bandura Downtown presents Victor Mishalow

Saturday May 19, 2001
The Ukrainian Museum
2nd floor gallery
203 2nd Avenue
New York City
Admission $10

The New York Bandura Ensemble presents the third concert of this year's Bandura Downtown series, an evening of music with Toronto-based bandurist Victor Mishalow. Mr. Mishalow will perform selections that cover the entire range of bandura music in this century: from the ancient songs of the kobzari, to the suppressed music of the 1920's and 30's, to contemporary bandura compositions.

Performer, composer, bandura scholar, archivist, and educator, Victor Mishalow has been a major influence on the bandura scene in North America, in Ukraine, and in his native Australia for upwards of twenty five years. In 1979 he was the first Ukrainian from the West to be allowed to study bandura at the Kyiv Conservatory. Those studies led directly to his recordings for Yevshan Records in the early 80's - the first purely instrumental bandura recordings.

In Ukraine he had the opportunity to acquaint Ukrainian bandurists with the musical treasures that had been preserved in the diaspora. Particularly important were his performances there of the works of Hnat Khotkevych, a pioneering performer and composer of the early twentieth century - the first performances of this music in Ukraine since Khotkevych was arrested and shot in the purges of the 1930s. In 1989-90, he returned to Ukraine with a trio that included NY Bandura ensemble director and Bandura Downtown curator Julian Kytasty. They performed almost a hundred concerts that brought bandura music that had been banned during the Soviet period to Ukrainian audiences.

While in Kyiv Victor Mishalow also studied with Heorhiy Tkachenko, the last living player to learn a repertoire of epic songs and other traditional music directly from the blind kobzari and to perform it in the traditional style and on the same type of instrument. Victor Mishalow documented Tkachenko's unique performance on audio and video and disseminated these recordings among his colleagues in Ukraine and in North America, ensuring that a direct link to ancient kobzar performance practices would remain available to future generations of bandurists.

Victor Mishalow's program on May 19 will include examples of ancient kobzar repertoire learned from Tkachenko, pieces by Hnat Khotkevych, recent music from Ukraine, and doubtless some of Mr. Mishalow's own compositions and arrangements. This will be his first New York performance in over a decade.

Bandura Downtown is a series showcasing the best of today's bandurists in intimate venues in the East Village - the crossroads of the Downtown arts scene and New York's traditional Ukrainian community. We draw on local musicians and visiting artists to present performances in a variety of styles, from the deepest tradition to the exploratory and genre bending. Bandura Downtown is an outgrowth of the informal series of professional solo and small ensemble performances presented by the New York Bandura Ensemble over the years. New York Bandura Ensemble programs are made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

Bandura Downtown regulars, please note the change of venue. To reserve a seat, contact Julian Kytasty by email or phone (212) 995 2640. Reservations will be honored until approximately ten minutes prior to show time.

The price of admission includes a post-concert wine and cheese reception with the artist.

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