Biographies of Bandurists and Kobzars



Tymofij Bilohradsky

Bilohradsky, Tymofij. Bandurist and singer of the 18th century. He studied the lute and singing in Dresden. In 1739-41 and later, up to 1767, he served as a court musician in St. Petersburg. Bilohradsky had a successful concert tour in Western Europe.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine. (Toronto 1988)


Hnat Honcharenko

Honcharenko, Hnat, b ca 1837 in Ripky, Kharkiv county, d ca 1917. One of the most famous kobzars. Blind from childhood, he learned to play the kobza at age 20-22 and wandered throughout the Kharkiv region, singing and playing dumas, psalms, and humorous songs in the traditional manner and teaching other kobzars. He spent the last part of his life mostly in Sevastopil. In 1908, poetess Lesia Ukrainka took Honcharenko to Yalta and, with the help of O. Slastion and her husband K. Kvitka, recorded his dumas on phonograph cylinders. Filaret Kolessa transcribed and published them in his collection Melodiyi ukrayins'kykh narodnykh dum (The Melodies of Ukrainian Folk Dumas, 2 vol., 1910; repr 1969).

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine. (Toronto, 1988)


Fedir Hrytsenko-Kholodny [Kovalenko]

Hrytsenko-Kholodny, Fedir Fedorovych, b 1814, Hlynske, Poltava oblast, d. unknown. This kobzar, who studied with V. Nazarenko, H. Vovk, and D. Kocherha, spent nearly his whole life wandering among villages and towns. He performed at markets, in the homes of merchants and lords, as well as in the theaters of the city of Kharkiv. His repertoire consisted of many songs, pslams, and seven dumas. Hrytsenko-Kholodny's playing technique was beyond compare, with one legend saying he could even play with his toes. He earned the nickname Kholodny (cold) due to his rough and meager existence. His students included I. Horodnytskyi, S. Skoryk, and V. Parasochko.

Zheplynskyi, Bohdan (ed.) Kobzari (Kyiv 1991)



Petro Huz

Huz, Petro, b 7 October 1898 in Lyutenka, Hadyache county, Poltava gubernia, d 2 May 1959 in Lyutenka. Having lost his sight in early childhood, he learned to play the bandura from Mykhailo Kravchenko and became an active kobzar after the Revolution, giving concerts in villages and cities throughout Ukraine. In 1940 he joined the State Ethnographic Ensemble of Bandurists. Besides the traditional kobzar songs, his repertoire included Soviet 'folk' songs, some of which were of his own composition.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Volodymyr Kabachok

Kabachok, Volodymyr, b 15 July 1892 Poltava, d 15 June 1957. Kobza player, bandurist, and conductor In 1907 he studied at the Poltava Music College, and from 1913 at the Moscow Conservatory. Kabachok founded and director of Poltava Bandura Chorus from 1925-1934. In 1934 he was arrested for the first time. He soon moved to St. Petersburg where he formed another bandura chorus of Ukrainian dockworkers. In 1937 he was arrested again sentenced to hard labor in the gold mining camps of Kolyma. Kabachok was released 1943, and in 1944 moved to Tashkent. He returned to Kyiv in 1945. There he joined the Ukrainian folk choir directed by Veriovka. He later went on to become a soloist and orchestra leader. From 1945 he taught bandura classes at the Gliere music college and from 1952 at the Kyiv Conservatory. He organized the first professional female bandura trios. He also completed a handbook for the bandura which was posthumously published in 1958.

Bashtan, Serhij (ed.). Banduryste orle syzyj - A wreath of reminicences about Volodymyr Kabachok Muzychna Ukrayina, Kyiv 1995

Kudrytskyj, A. Mytsi Ukrayiny Kyiv 1992


Hnat Khotkevych

Khotkevych, Hnat, b 31 December 1877 in Kharkiv, d 8 October 1938. Modernist writer, scholar, composer, theater director, and civic figure. After graduating from the Kharkiv Technical Institute in 1900, he worked as a railway engineer. In 1902 he arranged a performance by kobzars and lirnyks at the 12th Archeological conference in Kharkiv. Politically persecuted for being one of the leaders of a railwaymen's strike in Lyubotyn in 1905, he was forced to emigrate to Galicia [Halychyna] in 1906, where he lived in Lviv and then (1906-12) Kryvorivnya, Kosiv county. He toured Galicia and Bukovyna with concerts of Ukrainian folk songs accompanied by the bandura and in 1910 founded the Hutsul Theater in Krasnoyilya, Kosiv county. Returning to Kharkiv in 1912, Khotkevych became involved in the cultural life there: he gave public lectures; founded a workers theater, which in three years staged over 50 plays, mostly of Ukrainian classics; and in February 1913 became to editor of the literary journal Visnyk kul'tury i zhyttya. Again he came under political persecution and in 1915 was banished from Ukraine. Until the outbreak of the February Revolution he lived in Voronezh. He was opposed to the Bolshevik occupation of Ukraine, but from 1920 on was an active participant in Soviet cultural life. From 1920 to 1928 he taught Ukrainian literature and language at the Derkachi Zootekhnikum. Later he taught bandura-playing at the Kharkiv Music and Drama Institute. Throughout his life he worked at perfecting the art of bandura-playing and wrote a manual, Pidruchnyk hry na banduri (A Manual on Playing the Bandura, 1909; repr 1930, 1992), on the subject. He also composed a number of songs, including 'Bajda', 'Burya Na Chornomu Mori' (A Storm on the Black Sea), 'Sofron', 'Nechaj' and 'A v poli korchomka' (There's a Tavern in the Field).
Khotkevych began writing in 1897; his first short story 'Hruzynka' (The Georgian Girl) appeared in the Lviv journal Zorya. His rich literary legacy, much of it published in contemporary periodicals, consists of such works as the stories 'Bludnyj syn' (The Prodigal Son, 1898) and 'Rizdvyanyj vechir' (Christmas Eve, 1899; the cycle 'Zhyttyevi analohiyi' (Life's Analogies, 1897-1901); the novel Berestechko; the collection of stories Hirs'ki akvareli (Mountain Watercolors, 1914); stories written in 1914-15 and published under the title Hutsul's'ki obrazy (Hutsul Pictures, 1931); and the novelette Aviron (1917). His greatest literary achievement is the romantic novelette about Hutsuls, Kaminna dusha (The Stone Soul, 1st edn, 1911). Khotkevych also wrote a number of plays, including Dovbush (1909) and Hutsul's'ki rik (The Hutsul Year, 1910). Neproste (Non-simple, 1911) and other plays were written especially for the Hutsul Theater. His historical play - O polku Ihorevim (Ihor's Campaign, 1926) and tetralogy Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyj (1929) - were highly acclaimed by contemporary critics. In the last drama of the tetralogy, Pereyaslav, the playwright condemned the treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654 as an instrument of Russia's subjugation of Ukraine.

Khotkevych's literary and artistic interests were wide and varied. He wrote many studies, including Hryhorij Savych Skovoroda (1920), Narodni i seredn'ovichnyj teatr u halychyni (Folk and Medieval Theater in Galicia, 1924), Muzychni instrumenty ukrayins'koho narodu (The Musical Instruments of the Ukrainian People, 1930), and Teatr 1848 roku (The Theater in 1848, 1932), and a series of articles on T. Shevchenko. In the Soviet period, he translated such world classics as the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, Schiller, and Hugo.

Although he was politically suspect and stood aloof from Soviet literary discussions, Khotkevych remained one of the most popular writers in Ukraine. This is evident from the publication of an eight-volume collection of his works in 1928-32. Eventually, he again suffered political persecution for his views on Ukrainian culture; his last novel, 'Dovbush', was not published during his lifetime, and his ultimate acheivement, a tetralogy about the life of T. Shevchenko, which he began in 1928, was confiscated and until recently lost in the vaults of the KGB. During the Yezhov terror he was arrested in 1938 and, it has recently been discovered, executed later that same year in Kharkiv under trumped-up charges of being a German spy. After Stalin's death in 1955 he was posthumously rehabilitated, and two volumes of his works were published in 1966.

I. Koshelivets, Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Mykhailo Kravchenko

Kravchenko, Mykhailo, b 1858 in Velykyj Sorochyntsi, Poltava gubernia, d 21 April 1917 in Velykyj Sorochyntsi. A famous kobzar. Blind from the age of 15, he learned his craft from the kobzars Samiilo Yashnyi and Fedir Hrytsenko-Kholodny. He performed at the 12th Archeological Congress in Kharkiv and the All-Russian Cottage-Industry Exhibition in St. Petersburg in 1902 and gave several concerts in Moscow, Kyiv, Katerynoslav, and Poltava. Two of his own dumas deal with the 1905 peasant uprising in Sorochyntsi. Lesia Ukrainka, V. Korolenko, O. Slastion, P. Martynovych, and particularly F. Kolessa recorded the dumas he sang. He taught the famous kobzar Petro Huz.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Ivan Kucherenko-Kuchuhura

Kucherenko-Kuchuhura, Ivan, b 7 July 1878 in Murafa, Bohodukhiv county, Kharkiv gubernia,d 1943 in a prison camp. Kobzar. Blinded in childhood, he learned to sing and play the bandura from kobzar P. Hashchenko. With a repertoire of over 500 songs and dumas, he was invited by Hnat Khotkevych to teach bandura at the Lysenko Music and Drama School in Kyiv (1908-10). As his reputation grew, he staged concerts in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odesa, Katerynoslav, Poltava, Rostov-na-Donu, Miensk, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Warsaw. Many songs in his repertoire were of his own composition. Some of the dumas he sang were written down by F. Kolessa. In 1939 Kucherenko-Kuchuhura was arrested and sent to a distant labor camp where he perished.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr, (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Hryhory Trokhymovych Kytasty

Kytasty, Hryhory, b 17 January 1907 in Kobeliaky, Poltava gubernia, d 6 April 1984 in San Diego, California. Bandurist, composer, and conductor. He studied at the Poltava Musical Tekhnikum (1927-30) and the Lysenko Music and Drama School in Kyiv (1930-35, under M. Hrinchenko, L. Revutsky, and V. Kosenko). He was a member of the State Bandurist Kapelle of the Ukrainian SSR from its inception in 1935, serving as concertmaster and assistant director (from 1937). In 1941 Kytasty was conscripted into the Red Army and captured by the Germans. He soon managed to escape and returned to Kyiv, where he founded and became the first director of the Shevchenko Ukrainian Bandurist Kapelle, which reunited many of the original members of the State Bandurist Kapelle. This group was for a time interned in a Nazi concentration camp, but was subsequently allowed to tour Ukrainian Ostarbeiter camps in Western Europe. A displaced person after the war, he performed as a soloist and with the Kapelle throughout Western Europe, touring Ukrainian displaced persons camps and organizing bandura classes. He immigrated to the United States in 1949 and settled in Detroit with the entire ensemble, which was renamed the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus. He served as conductor and director of the Chorus to 1954, in 1958-59, and from 1967 to his death. Kytasty wrote countless original works and arrangements of folk songs for choir and bandura accompaniment, solo bandura, choir and piano, and bandura orchestra. He also composed several dumy and put the works of various Ukrainian poets to music, including Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Bahriany, O. Oles, B. Oleksandriv, and V. Symonenko. Many of his compositions have entered the repertoire of almost every bandura ensemble in the West, especially the haunting instrumental piece Homin Stepiv (Echo of the Steppe). Kytasty was a tireless propagator of the bandura art. He taught numerous courses and seminars on the bandura and influenced an entire generation of bandurists in North America.

W. Wytwycky Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988) BIBLIOGHRAPHY Samchuk, U. Zhyvi struny, Bandura i bandurysty Detroit 1976 Hurs'kyi, Ia. (ed). Zbirnyk NA poshanu Hryhoriia Kytastoho u 70-richchia z dnia narodzhennia (New York 1980)


Oleksander Markevych

Markevych, Oleksander Andriiovych, b 9 April 1894 in Troiitske, Vasylkiv county, Kyiv gubernia, d 5 February 1978 in Kyiv. Folk singer and kobzar. After losing his eyesight in the First World War, he learned to play the kobza and the bandura and developed an extensive repertoire of dumas, historical songs, psalms, and musical renditions, often his own, of poems by Taras Shevchenko, S. Rudansky, and L. Hlibov. In 1939 he took part in the First Republican Conference of Kobzars and Lirnyks and joined the State Kobzar Ensemble. In 1951 Markevych join a bandurist capella which was part of the Kyiv branch of the Ukrainian Society of the Blind. He taught Pavlo Nosach, with whom he frequently traveled and performed. In the 50 years of his career he visited almost every village in the Kyiv region. Markevych died in a house fire.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Yehor Movchan

Movchan, Yehor, b 1 May 1898 in Velyka Pysarivka, Bohodukhiv county, Kharkiv gubernia, d. 22 March 1968 in Kyiv. Kobzar. Blind at 10 months and orphaned by the age of five, he studied with the kobzar Stepan Pasiuha, and then set off on his own in 1913. His pre-Revolutionary repertoire included all major dumas and historical songs, notably Nevil'nyts'kyj plach (The Captives' Lament), Duma About the Widow and Her Three Sons, and Duma About the Three Brothers of Samara, as well as songs to the words of Taras Shevchenko. Under Soviet rule he began composing pseudo-folkloric dumas and songs in honor of contemporary leaders and Soviet holidays. He frequently performed on radio and television.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Pavlo Nosach

Nosach, Pavlo, b 22 September 1890 in Bovkun, Tarashcha county, Kyiv gubernia, d 20 October 1966 in Kyiv. Kobzar. Orphaned as a child, he was wounded in battle in 1915 and lost his sight. He learned to play the kobza in 1928 from Oleksander Markevych. His repertoire included folk songs, songs set to the verses of Taras Shevchenko, and his own compositions, such as 'A Duma about the Great Kobzar'. During the Second World War his itinerant minstreling helped to strengthen patriotic feelings in Ukraine as well as the resolve to resist the occupying Germans.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Terentij Parkhomenko

Parkhomenko, Terentij, b 28 October 1872 in Voloskivtsi, Sosnytsya county, Chernihiv gubernia, d 23 March 1910 in Voloskivtsi. Kobzar. Having lost his sight at age 10 he studied the kobza under A. Hoidenko and others and then for five years wandered with Hoidenko throughout Ukraine. At age 30 he began to teach the kobza. Some of his students (P. Tkachenko, Serdiuk-Pereliub, and O. Hrebin) became noted folk singers. He corresponded with Mykola Lysenko, O. Slastion, A. Malynka, M. Serpansky, Lesia Ukrainka, Ivan Franko, and V. Hnatiuk. In 1902 he performed at the 12th Archeological Conference in Kharkiv and was invited to appear in Lviv and Drohobych. He gave concerts in Kyiv, Poltava, Nizhyn, Mohyliv-Podilskkyj, Uman, Vinnytsya, Yelysavethrad, and Warsaw. His repertoire included dumas, historical songs, psalms, lyrical songs, and satires. Because his songs awakened national consciousness among the peasants, he was harassed by the authorities. He died as a result of a police beating.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)


Stepan Pasiuha

Pasiuha, Stepan Artemovych, b 11 December 1862 in Velyka Pysarivka, Bohodukhiv county, Kharkiv gubernia, d 1933 Velyka Pysarivka. Kobzar. His repertoire included the dumas The Widow and Her Three Sons, The Captives' Lament, and The Flight of the Three Brothers From Azov, as well as other historical and heroic songs. In 1911-12 he gave concerts in Kyiv, Poltava, Myrhorod, and other towns. His repertoire was written down by Filaret Kolessa. Pasiuha's students included Ivan Kucherenko-Kuchuhura and Yehor Movchan.

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988) Zheplynskyi, Bohdan (ed.) Kobzari (Kyiv 1991)


Ostap Veresai

Veresai, Ostap Mykytovych, b 1803 in Kalyuzhyntsi, Pryluka county, Poltava gubernia, d April 1890 in Sokyryntsi, Pryluka country, Poltava gubernia. Kobza player and singer (tenor). A peasant who became blind at the age of fourteen, he studied from 1818 with S. Koshovy and other kobzars. By the 1860s he was the most renowned performer of Ukrainian epic and historic songs. In 1873 he appeared in recital for the Southwestern Branch of the Imperial Russian Geographic Society and in 1875 concertized in St. Petersburg. His repertoire included the dumas Kinless Fedir, Three Brothers from Azov, and Oleksij Popovych. One of his favorite pieces was A Song on Truth and Falsehood, though he was often arrested for performing it. Veresai's artistry was studied by ethnographers such as O. Rusov and Pavlo Chubynsky, as well as by Mykola Lysenko, who wrote a monograph on the works in Veresai's repertoire (1873, 1978).

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988) Zheplynskyi, Bohdan (ed.) Kobzari (Kyiv 1991)


Samiilo Yashnyi

Yashnyi, Samiilo Kharytonovych, b 1813 in Myrhorod, d. unknown. Kobzar who studied under S. Koshovyi. He had an extensive repertoire, and was well known for singing pslams, which he taught to Mykhailo Kravchenko. He also preformed the dumas Three Brothers of Azov and The Widow and Three Sons. Well-respected in the Myrhorod region, he continued to perform into his nineties. Yashnyi was also a master mead maker.

Zheplynskyi, Bohdan (ed.) Kobzari (Kyiv 1991)


Vasyl Yemetz

Yemetz, Vasyl, b 2 August 1890 in Sharivka, Bohodukhiv county, Kharkiv gubernia, d 6 January 1982 in Los Angeles. Bandura player; singer and teacher. He learned how to play the bandura from blind kobzars living near his family's holdings and started to perform when he entered university in Kharkiv (and later Moscow) in 1911-12. He organized and directed the first bandurist chorus in Ukraine in Kyiv in 1918 and (after emigrating in 1920), an ensemble in Prague. He taught students in Podebrady. He toured extensively throughout Western Europe, the United States, and Canada, finally residing in Hollywood from 1937. He authored the book Kobza i kobzari (The Kobza and Kobza Players, 1923) and wrote articles on the bandura and bandurists in Ukrainian, Czech, and French. A collection of memoirs, photographs, press clippings, and articles about or in praise of him was published was published in 1961 as Vasyl' Yemets': U zolote 50-richchya NA sluzhbi Ukrayini (Vasyl Yemetz: On His Golden 50th Anniversary of Serving Ukraine).

Kubijovyc, Volodymyr (ed.) Encyclopedia of Ukraine (Toronto 1988)



August 21, 2003



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