Mykola Leontovych


Composer, folklorist, conductor, educator.

MYKOLA LEONTOVYCH (1877, Kam’yanets’-Podil’s’kyi – 1921, Tulchyn), composer, folklorist, conductor, pedagogue. The son of an Orthodox priest, he graduated from the Theological Seminary in Kam’yanets’-Podil’s’kyi in 1899. He took private lessons in harmony and music theory with S. Barmotin and composition with B. Jaworski. In 1903-04 he also took music lessons with the Tsarist choral band in St. Petersburg, where he passed the exam to become a choral conductor.

Since 1898 he has been teaching music, founding and conducting choirs and instrumental ensembles in the cities of Podil, Kyiv and Katerynslav regions. In 1919, he taught at the Lysenko Music and Drama School in Kyiv. He was one of the organizers of the Ukrainian State Choir and the State Symphony Orchestra. He died tragically shot dead by a Cheka (predecessor of the KGB) agent in his parents’ home in Markivka near Tulchyn, as one of the most dangerous bearers of the Ukrainian revival. Leontovych is the author of arrangements of more than 150 folk songs for choir, which can be described as original choral compositions based on folk melodies, as well as the unfinished opera On Easter Rusalka.

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