CHICAGO – Founded in 1971, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) marked 50 years of excellence in art exhibition and performance throughout 2021 by honoring its founders’ original vision. To acknowledge the significant milestone, UIMA hosted a sold-out gala concert and fundraiser, “Sounds of Celebration,” on November 6.
Amid the ambience of the museum’s anniversary exhibition, “Selections of the Permanent Collection,” the melodic atmosphere of the evening filled the museum’s galleries. Guests were treated to the lyrical artistry of world-renowned Ukrainian vocalists and musicians, among them Solomiya Ivakhiv, Juliana Osinchuk, Stefan Szkafarowsky and Marta Zaliznyak-Derzhko.
The concert opened with welcoming remarks from the chair of the museum’s Board of Directors, Orysia Kossak-Cardoso. Mykhajlo Holian, the chair of the museum’s Music Committee, introduced the evening’s featured vocalists and musicians.
The event marked the return of Juilliard-trained, critically acclaimed pianist and educator Ms. Osinchuk, whose dynamic performance featured Vasyl Barvinsky’s set of six piano “Miniatures on Ukrainian Folk Songs,” as well as “Ballade of Ukraine” and “Complainte” (Dumka), composed by Franz Liszt during his stay in Voronovytsia, Ukraine.
A noted advocate for Ukrainian culture, violinist Ms. Ivakhiv performed works from her soon-to-be released album “Poems and Rhapsodies,” as well as Ernest Chausson’s “Poème, Op. 25” and Anatol Kos-Anatolsky’s “Poem for Violin and Piano in D minor.” Her performance of Myroslav Skoryk’s “Carpathian Rhapsody” showcased Ms. Ivakhiv’s skill and passion inspired by the melodious motifs and rhythms of the Hutsuls.
Praised for his flawless skill and ability to create exceptional characters, internationally acclaimed New York Metropolitan bass Stefan Szkafarowsky performed powerful solo renditions of Ihor Sonevytsky’s “Psalm of David” and “Steppe Goddess.”
Opera soprano Ms. Zaliznyak-Derzhko and Mr. Szkafarowsky charmed the audience with Vasyl Bezkorovainy’s “Night Magic” and Oleksandr Bilash’s “The Crane.” A veteran of the Solomiya Khrushelnytska National Theater of Opera and Ballet, Ms. Zaliznyak-Derzhko emigrated to the United States where she performed in Die Fledermaus, Pagliacci and La Boheme, among others.
Duets performed by Mr. Szkafarowsky and Ms. Zaliznyak-Derzhko included Mykola Lysenko’s “When Lovers Part.” In closing, the two also entertained the audience with “La ci darem la mano” from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”
UIMA was founded in 1971 by artists Konstantin Milonadis, Mychajlo Urban and benefactors Dr. Achilles and Vera Chreptowsky, who arrived in the United States after World War II among a wave of Ukrainian émigrés fleeing German and Soviet oppression. They believed that a venue for all forms of contemporary artistic voice, including those of Ukrainian artists, could fill a critical void in the Chicago arts landscape and could be experienced and shared with the world.
At the conclusion of the gala concert, UIMA President Motria Melnyk thanked the performers, guests, sponsors and donors, including the Heritage Foundation of 1st Security Federal Savings Bank and the Selfreliance Foundation of Selfreliance Federal Credit Union, UIMA’s longtime steadfast supporters. The event featured a wine and hors d’oeuvres meet-and-greet reception with performers. Readers who would like to learn more about UIMA’s programming may visit the organization’s website at www.uima-chicago.org.