Mykola Lysenko

Ukrainian composer and musicologist Mykola Lysenko was born in Hrynky on 22 March 1842. He was interested in Ukrainian folksong and the poems of Taras Shevchenko (1814-61) from an early age. Initially a biology student, on winning a Russian Music Society scholarship, he began to study music at Leipzig Conservatory. Later he studied orchestration with Rimsky-Korsakov.

Lysenko's compositions were pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian, using only Ukrainian language texts for his opera libretti, and refusing to allow his works to be translated into Russian. This was detrimental to his career, for example preventing a Moscow performance of his opera Taras Bulba (which had impressed Tchaikovsky). He supported the 1905 revolution, and was jailed briefly in 1907.

His musicological research demonstrated how Ukrainian melodic material, with its unique approach to chromaticism, differs from Russian material, and studied Ukrainian folk instruments.

Mykola Lysenko died on 6 November 1912.

A selection of articles about Mykola Lysenko

Ensemble. Exceptionally Vivid Playing - Mike Wheeler listens to a highly charged performance by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

Ensemble. Stewards of Creation - Haydn's 'The Creation' marks Harry Christophers' final concert with Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, heard by John Dante Prevedini

CD Spotlight. Virtuosic Gifts - Music by Mykola Lysenko, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... superb craftsmanship ...'

Ensemble. Utterly Idiomatic - Roderic Dunnett listens to vocal and choral music in Kiev