Famous cultural figures of Kiev

Nikolay Lysenko (1842-1912) – a well-known Ukrainian composer. Outstanding works of Lysenko – operas “Taras Bulba” and “Natalka Poltavka”, as well as music for the hymns “Prayer for Ukraine”, “Zaporozhye March”, “Eternal Revolutionary”. Lysenko deservedly called the founder of Ukrainian national music, where not only his compositional but also ethnographic activity played a significant role. Taking a great interest in folklore, he created works filled with Ukrainian spirit. It was a powerful propaganda of the Ukrainian musical culture.

In the compositional heritage of Nikolay Lysenko, a special place is occupied by works on the texts of T. Shevchenko, which served the development of Ukrainian academic musical art. Lysenko is also the author of such operas as “Christmas Night”, “Aeneid”, “Koza-Dereza” (children’s opera), which became the basis for national opera art. The composer spent most of his life in Kiev, buried in the Baykove cemetery. His name in Kiev called the Column Hall of the National Philharmonic. Now there is a Lysenko’s house-museum on the Saksahanskoho str., 95, where the composer lived in 1898-1912. Nikolay Lysenko’s works can still be heard in the National Opera (50, Volodymyrska Str.). Next to the Opera Theater there is a monument to the great composer.

Serge Lifar (1905-1986) – a choreographer, an outstanding figure in world ballet. Serge was born in Kiev and had Cossack roots. At the age of 17 he began studying at the Kiev “School of Motion” at the famous ballet teacher Bronislava Nijinskaya. In 1923 he emigrated to Paris, where he began to work in the troupe “Russian Ballet of Diaghilev”, becoming its lead singer. After the collapse of the troupe was invited to the Grand Opera and until 1958 worked first as a choreographer, and later as its leader. In 1961 Lifar was able to visit Kiev. “Even a beautiful Paris can not make me, a Kievite, forget my wide, majestic Dnieper” – that’s what Serge said about his native Kiev. The creative heritage of Lifar includes about 200 ballet productions, as well as 25 books on the theory of dance.

He founded the choreography institute at the Grand Opera, was a professor at the Higher School of Music and the honorary president of the National Dance Council of UNESCO. Among the awards of Lifar – the Order of the Legion of Honor, the Order of Literature and Art, the “Golden Shoe” and “Oscar” awards. In the Museum of the Ukrainian Diaspora one can learn about Lifar’s creative life, see his personal belongings, photographs, as well as the medal of honor, donated by Serge’s widow (Moscovska str., 40-b). Particular value are the unique old prints of the XVII-XVIII centuries and the book “Chigirinsky Kobzar and Gaydamaky” by T. Shevchenko (1844), which was owned by Lifar. A memorial plaque was erected on the building of the former 8th Kiev Gymnasium, where Lifar studied in 1914-1919 (today Kyivenergo). The book collection of Lifar is kept in the Kyiv library (Velyka Zhytomyrska Str., 4).

Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) – a famous film director, won world fame, thanks to the painting “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”. Parajanov’s creative life is closely connected not only with Kiev, but also with Ukraine as a whole. Armenian by nationality he wholeheartedly was in love with Ukrainian culture. Working at the Dovzhenko film studio Parajanov created films, that were included in the gold collection of Ukrainian cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Natalia Uzhviy, Golden Hands, Thought, and Ukrainian Rhapsody. World recognition came to Sergei Parajanov after the film “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, which was awarded 39 international awards and 28 prizes at film festivals around the world.

This film about the life of the Hutsuls, based on the story of the same name by M. Kotsiubynsky, was called a real masterpiece. Unfortunately Parajanov was condemned by the Soviet authorities for 5 years “for Ukrainian nationalism”, after which he was forbidden to live in Ukraine. Through the ideological censorship the films “Kyiv frescos”, “Intermezzo” (based on M. Kotsiubynsky), etc. did not appear. In gratitude for the invaluable contribution to Ukrainian cinema Parajanov was awarded the title of People’s Artist of Ukraine. In Kiev on the territory of the Dovzhenko film studio a monument to an outstanding director installed. On the facade of the house № 1 (Peremogy Avenue) a memorial plaque was installed, where Parajanov lived in 1962-1974.

Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989) – an outstanding pianist of XX century, nicknamed “the king of kings of pianists”. He was born in Kiev to a Jewish family. Vladimir’s love for music was vaccinated from childhood by his mother. A ten-year-old boy was admitted to the Kiev Music College (today Gliere Kiev Institute of Music). Then he continued his studies at the conservatory (the current National Music Academy of Ukraine). During his studies Horowitz was repeatedly invited to public concerts, where only the most talented students performed. After graduating from the conservatory in 1920 Horowitz begins to tour the country, having a huge success. In 1925 he left for Europe with concerts, from where he was not returning to his homeland. And since 1928 he moved to the United States, where he lived his whole life. Horowitz went down in history the piano playing of which was distinguished by phenomenal technique and virtuosity. He received the highest American award “Medal of Freedom”, 25 Grammy Awards. In Kiev the International Competition of Young Pianists in Memory of Horowitz is held. On the M. Kotsyubinsky str., 12 a memorial plaque is installed, where the family lived.

Bohdan Stupka (1941-2012) – an outstanding Ukrainian actor of theater and cinema, who became a symbol of the Ukrainian nation. Since 1978 he lived and worked in Kiev, devoting his whole life to creative work. In 1999-2001 he served as Minister of Culture and Art of Ukraine, since 2001 and until his death he headed the National Academic Drama Theater (Ivan Franco Square, 3). For his acting career he has played in more than a hundred movies, including the world-famous “Fire and Sword”, “Taras Bulba”, “East-West”, “His Own”, “Driver for Faith”, etc. On the stage of the Theater his best roles were roles in the performances “Stolen Happiness”, “Uncle Vanya”, “King Lear”, “Tevye-Tevel”. The most sold-out was the play “Tevye-Tevel”, for the role in which Bohdan Stupka was awarded the State Prize of Ukraine. After his death the play in the theater was no longer shown in honor of the memory of the actor’s memory. For his outstanding contribution to the development of Ukrainian cinematography, he was awarded posthumously the State Prize of Ukraine. He was buried in the Baikove cemetery.

Alexandr Vertinsky (1889-1957) – an outstanding artist, conquered the world’s theatrical stage in the first half of the XX century. The author of famous works “Your fingers smell of incense”, “Little Creole”, “Cocaine”. Vertinsky was born and spent his childhood on the Volodymyrska str., 43. He studied at the First Kiev Gymnasium together with M. Bulgakov and K. Paustovsky. In those years he was already carried away by the theater, performed in amateur performances and on the stage of the Kiev Solovki Theater. Vertinsky’s creative style began to take shape at Kiev literary meetings in the house of Sofia Zelinskaya, where cultural and art figures gathered. During this period he tried himself as a writer and wrote stories “Portrait”, “Cigarettes ”Spring“, ”My Bride“, which were printed in the newspaper ”Kiev Week“.

Vertinsky’s name becomes known among the Kiev creative intelligentsia. But in the early 1910’s he leaves Kiev, seeking to find himself and make a career. Being world famous Alexandr Vertinsky has repeatedly visited Kiev with concerts. They say that the poem “Kiev – the native land of the tender” Vertinsky wrote in 1956 on a napkin in a Kiev restaurant on the Volodymyrska str., 39. Each time he arrived in Kiev, a great chanson attended this institution, and after a long time sat in Zolotovorotsky park opposite. Kiev honors the talented countryman. In the Museum of one street (Andriivsky Descent) Alexandr Vertinsky devoted a showcase, where you can see the autographs of the artist with the texts of some of his songs, as well as his photographs, a collection of records from the 1930s-1950s. On the building where Vertinsky was born, a memorial plaque is installed (Volodymyrska Str., 43).

Anatoliy Solovianenko (1932-1999) – Ukrainian opera singer. It is one of the world famous tenors of the world. His creative activity in Kiev began in 1962 as an intern of the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theater. From 1965 until the 1990-s he was the soloist of the current National Opera of Ukraine. During his life he performed at various stages of the world, worked for several seasons at the Metropolitan Opera (New York). He perfectly mastered the Italian style, masterly performing the parts in the operas of Verdi and Puccini. Solovianenko was one of the few Ukrainian singers, thanks to whom the world recognized the Ukrainian culture and the beauty of song art. Folk Ukrainian songs in his performance have become an example of mastery for all subsequent singers. For his contribution to the development of Ukrainian culture and art, Solovianenko was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine. On the Institutska str. set a monument to the great tenor, and on the facade of building № 16 – a memorial plaque.