The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine headquartered in the Medieval city of Lviv was officially established on September 27, 1902 as, on this day, the first concert of the newly formed orchestra took place in the Philharmonic Theater of Count Stanislav Skarbko (presently known as the Ukrainian National Academic Theater of Drama named after Maria Zankovetska). The Principal Conductor of the orchestra was Ludwik Vitezslav Czelianski (1870-1931). Henryk Jarecki and Henryk Meltzer-Szczawinski worked alongside him as conductors of the orchestra.
During the first season, the orchestra performed nearly 115 concerts, the total number of audience members exceeding 115,000. The concert programs featured the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, symphonic works by Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Antonin Dvorak, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Camille Saint-Saëns, Peter Tchaikovsky. Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Mieczyslaw Karlowicz performed as invited conductors with the Lviv orchestra during its first season.
In 1933, the orchestra became incorporated as the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine . According to the announcements, the “Inaugural” symphony concert of the newly formed orchestra of Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine took place on November 20, 1933. Adam Soltys led the orchestra, in particular in the first season he combined the functions of director and artistic director. He actively worked with the orchestra until 1938. During this period, the symphony orchestra was performed by prominent composers – Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok, Karol Szymanowski, soloists – Anton Rubinstein, Ferruccio Busoni, Wanda Landowska, Leopold Godowski, Jacob Milstein, Eugene Isai, Pablo Corvadam – Szymanowska and many others.
With the advent of the Soviet regime, the orchestra was led by Isaac Pain. Lviv conductor and composer Mykola Kolessa was also invited to work in the orchestra. During the German occupation, in 1941-1944, the Philharmonic did not operate. In the postwar period, the orchestra had to be re-assembled, which was the joint effort of Isaac Pain, Dionysius Khabal, Nestor Hornytsky and Mykola Kolessa. The team resumed work in August 1944. The first concerts featured works by Stanislav Liudkevych, Vasyl Barvinsky, Mykola Lysenko, Stanislav Monyushko, Camille Saint-Saens, Peter Tchaikovsky, Carl Maria von Weber.
During 1953-1957 and later – in 1987-1989 the conductor of the orchestra was Yuriy Lutsiv. From 1964 to 1987, the symphony orchestra was led by Demyan Pelekhatyi, who worked fruitfully with colleagues Roman Filipchuk and Ihor Simovich. From 1989 the principal conductor of the orchestra was Ivan Yuziuk, the conductors were Roman Fylypchuk and Yarema Kolessa.
Some of the world’s greatest musicians have been performing with the orchestra since the 1950s including: Sviatoslav Richter, Heinrich and Stanislav Neuhaus, Emil Gilels, Maria Yudina, Moisey Greenberg, Dmytro Bashkirov, David and Ihor Oistrakh, Mstyslav Rostropovich, Yuriy Lysychenko, Mariya Chaikovska, Viktoria Lukyanets, Gidon Kremer, Leonid Kohan, Natalia Gutman, Oleh Polyansky, Dmytro Tkachenko, Roman Hrynkiv, Myroslava Kotorovych, Oleksandr Slobodyanyk, Bohodar Kotorovych, Oleh Krysa, Olga Batystyuk, Lidia Shutko, Jozhef Ermin, Oksana Rapita, Etela Chupryk.
Some of the most famous conductors in classical music, including Kirill Kondrashin, Fuat Mansurov, Nathan Rakhlin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Reinhold Gliere, Yevgeni Mravinsky, Nikolae Popescu, Kurt Masur, Saulius Sondeckis, Theodore Kuchar and Mariss Jansons as well as Ukrainian conductors Stefan Turchak, Fedor Glushchenko, Igor Blazhkov, Roman Kofman, Volodymyr Kozhukhar, Volodymyr Sirenko Viktor Ploskina, Yuriy Yanko and Victoria Zhadko.
The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine is a regular participant in international festivals, including, the International Festival of Musical Art “Virtuosos”, the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Contrasts”, the Ukrainian-Polish Festival “Discovering Paderewski.”
The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine has toured extensively around the world including Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and The People’s Republic of China. During the past several seasons they have completed highly-acclaimed recordings for major international labels including Naxos and Brilliant Classics.
Theodore Kuchar, Principal Guest Conductor
The multiple award-winning conductor Theodore Kuchar is the most recorded conductor of his generation and appears on over 140 compact discs for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine, Marco Polo, Toccata Classics and Centaur labels. He has served as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of two of Europe’s leading orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Czech Radio Orchestra) while also serving as the Principal Conductor of the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and Slovak Sinfonietta. In the 2011-12 season he commenced his tenure as the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela and prior to that served as the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia. He presently serves as Principal Guest Conductor of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine. Lviv In addition to his conducting activities he has served as the Artistic Director of two of the world’s most important chamber music festivals, The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (1991-2007) and the Nevada Chamber Music Festival (2003-2018).