Commemorative Concert

Chairperson: Pavlo Hunka
Internationally acclaimed opera singer
Founder and Artistic Director, Ukrainian Art Song Project

A symphonic memorial concert took place at the National Opera House in Kyiv on September 29, 2016. It featured works by Max Bruch, Yevhen Stankovych, and Johannes Brahms, with over 160 performers (orchestra, choir, soloists) from 15 countries worldwide under the direction of a native of Ukraine, Oksana Lyniv, conductor at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. 

Producer – Pavlo Hunka

Conductor – Oksana Lyniv
Assistant Conductor – Ivan Cherednichenko

Stage Director – Annechien Koerselman

Orchestra – Hamburg Symphony Orchestra
Chorus – Dumka, National Academic Choir of Ukraine

Soprano – Gal James
Tenor – Benjamin Butterfield
Bass-Baritone – Pavlo Hunka
Cellist – Roman Borys

Producer, Bass-Baritone — Pavlo Hunka

Pavlo Hunka
photo  Andrew Waller

Internationally acclaimed opera singer Pavlo Hunka was born in England, the son of a Ukrainian father and an English mother. He qualified as a linguist and then practised as a lawyer in the United Kingdom for four years before embarking on a stellar singing career. He began his vocal studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and completed them in Switzerland with Kammersängerin Maria Sandulescu.  

Pavlo began his operatic journey in Basel, Switzerland, where he sang many of the bass-baritone roles in the Russian, German, French, and Italian repertoires. For the last 27 years, he has sung in the most prestigious opera houses of the world: Paris, Vienna, Munich, Florence, Amsterdam, Madrid, Moscow, London, Salzburg, Rome, Berlin, and Toronto, under a glittering array of conductors: Claudio Abbado, Jeffrey Tate, Semion Bychkov, Zubin Mehta, Peter Schneider, Mark Wigglesworth, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kirill Petrenko, and Kasushi Ono. 

Highlights include Don Pizarro in Fidelio at Munich and Vienna State Operas, the title role in Wozzeck at the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Doctor in Wozzeck at the State Opera in Berlin, Schigolch in Lulu in Brussels and Munich, Macbeth in Berlin, Falstaff at the Canadian Opera Company, Tomski in Pique Dame at Teatro Real Madrid, Klingsor in Parsifal and Hunding in Walküre at the Bolshoi in Moscow, Alberich in Siegfried in Lyon, Nekrotzar in Le Grand Macabre in Brussels, the General in Prokoffiev’s The Gambler in Amsterdam, Simone in The Florentine Tragedy in Geneva, Boris in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in London, Šiškov in From the House of the Dead in Berlin in the acclaimed Patrice Chéreau production with Sir Simon Rattle.  

Future projects include Dikoj in Katja Kabanova, Schigolch in Lulu, Tsar Dodon in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, the world premiere of The Monster in the Maze by Jonathan Dove with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Ring Cycle in Denmark with Alexandr Vedernikov, Le Grand Macabre with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony.  

2016 marks Pavlo’s premiere performance in Ukraine, with an art song recital on June 5 at the National Philharmonic in Kyiv and another on June 9 at the Lviv Philharmonic. He also appears at the 75th anniversary of Babyn Yar at the National Opera Theatre in Kyiv on September 29.

Pavlo is Artistic Director of the Ukrainian Art Song Project (, which has the goal of recording an anthology of over 1000 Ukrainian classical art songs by 26 Ukrainian composers – songs never heard by the world; songs that deserve to be performed on the world stage.  

Conductor – Oksana Lyniv

Oksana Lyniv

A native of Brody, Ukraine, Oksana Lyniv has conducted concerts with orchestras including the Bayerisches Kammerorchester, Bayerisches Landesjugendorchester, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Bergische Symphoniker, Elblandphilharmonie, Erzgebirgische Philharmonie, Mittelsächsische Philharmonie, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Romania State Philharmonia Oradea, and the Lviv Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. She also joined the Lviv National Academy Opera and Ballet Theatre as assistant to the music director. 

From 2003, Oksana Lyniv conducted concerts and world premieres as Principal Guest Conductor of Leopolis Chamber Orchestra. After taking third prize at the 2004 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Bamberg, she assisted Jonathan Nott, Principal Conductor of the Bamberger Symphoniker. In 2005, she made her debut at the Music Festival Falera, Spain. Her conducting studies continued in Germany with Ekkehard Klemm at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden from 2007 to 2009. From March 2008 to 2013, she held the position of Deputy Chief Conductor of the Odessa National Opera Theatre. During this time, she made her Japan debut at the 2008 Kamata Festival in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Nagasaki with Mozart and Beethoven programmes. In 2009, she conducted a gala concert with Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder and Mozart’s Symphony N° 40 with members of the Dresden Philharmonic and Staatskapelle Dresden. Oksana Lyniv conducted Verdi’s La Traviata at the Estonian National Opera Tallinn, Verdi’s Il Trovatore at the Lviv National Opera, Verdi’s La Traviata at the Odessa National Opera and Oper Bonn, and Mozart’s Idomeneo and Puccini’s La Bohème at the Städtische Bühnen Osnabrück. In 2013, she conducted operas by Rossini and Verdi on a tour of Spain and in 2014, she was on the podium for a new production of Blacher’s Die Flut at the Munich Opera Festival. For the 2013/14 season, she joined the Bavarian State Opera as conductor and assistant to Music Director Kirill Petrenko, preparing with him operas including Berg’s Lulu, Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Der Rosenkavalier, Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten. 

In October 2014, Oksana Lyniv was on the podium at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper for Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. She returned for performances of Martinů’s Mirandolina, Verdi’s La Traviata and a new production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory during the 2014/15 season. 

Oksana Lyniv’s recordings reflect her artistic work. In 2006, she conducted de Falla, Skriabin, and Sydorenko with Bamberger Symphoniker/Bayerischer Rundfunk. In 2010, she conducted Tchaikovsky’s Iolanthe and Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Odessa National Opera Theatre on the occasion of the Euro Broadcasting Union concert. In 2013, she recorded Bortnyanskyi’s Alcide in Ukraine.

Stage Director – Annechien Koerselman

Annachien Koerselan
photo: Monique Kooijmans

The Dutch stage director Annechien Koerselman studied direction at the Toneelacademie Maastricht. Since then, she has staged theatre pieces such as Bluebeard by Dea Loher and her own compositions, including The Flying Dutchman. Music is the common thread in these productions, which is why Annechien is also active as a stage director in musical theatre and opera. She created, among others, the musical theatre performance of The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats and The Music Factory for which she received the Junge Ohren-Preis 2012, the opera L’Isola Disabitata by Haydn (the Dutch Touring Opera Enschede) and the music theatre performance Beautiful Anna by Marjolein Bierens (Zeelandia). 

Annechien Koerselman’s productions are shown in the Netherlands and abroad. In season 2012/13, she directed the newly written opera Kannst du pfeifen, Johanna (Hartmann/Kampe) at Die Deutsche Oper Berlin, where in 2014 her Commissioned by the Philharmonie Luxembourg, Annechien wrote and directed several music-theatre productions including Firebird, Bout’chou 4 Seasons and 4 Elements, Carmencita, and The Planets, and in 2015 she directed at the Berliner Philharmonie the new opera The Monster in the Maze by Jonathan Dove, under the musical direction of Sir Simon Rattle.

Recently, Annechien staged the Chamber Opera Black Perfume (Diamantfabriek), the theatrical concert The Garden Of Earthly Delights (Calefax Reed Quintet) and Dijkdrift (Silbersee Calefax Reed Quintet). In addition to her work as a stage director, she regularly adapts novels for the stage and writes plays.

Orchestra – Hamburg Symphony Orchestra

Hamburger Symphoniker
© J. Konrad Schmidt

The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra has since its inception in 1957 been a unique presence in the musical life of the city. The orchestra is known for concerts of the highest artistic standard, its uncommonly broad range of education and outreach activities, and its traditional home: the Hamburg Symphony is the Orchestra in Residence of Hamburg’s celebrated Laeiszhalle.

After almost 60 years, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra is an essential part of both Hamburg’s musical life and the city’s vision to establish Hamburg as a musical metropolis. Since the beginning of their collaboration in 2009, Artistic Director Daniel Kühnel and internationally renowned Principal Conductor Jeffrey Tate have won praise for their innovative programming. Stimulating and distinctive repertoire has become a trademark of the orchestra’s concerts and has contributed to a significant increase in audience numbers.

The singular profile of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra has also attracted attention beyond the borders of Hamburg and Germany. As a “thinking orchestra” from an emerging musical metropolis, the orchestra is establishing an international reputation. Highly acclaimed tours have taken the ensemble to Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Scandinavia, Turkey, Poland, China, and the USA. 

The orchestra is known for providing a podium for outstanding talent: the exceptional violinist Guy Braunstein is currently Artist in Residence, and since the beginning of the 2014/15 season, the acclaimed conductor Ion Marin has been the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. The unmistakable artistic character that the orchestra strives to cultivate speaks to listeners from all walks of life in Hamburg and beyond. For this reason, the orchestra does not perform exclusively in the Laeiszhalle, but also in the Hamburg Hochschule for Music and Theater, the Hamburg State Opera, and numerous concert halls in the surrounding area. Educational programs for children and young people –in the Laeiszhalle and in local schools – are a particular focus of the orchestra’s activity.

The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra works together with the city’s other musical organizations to give Hamburg a unique musical identity, and plays an active role in current social and political discussions. New accents in the city’s musical landscape underscore the orchestra’s aspirations for quality, originality, and accessibility. The success of these ideas demonstrates Hamburg’s potential as a modern and lively musical center and encourages the orchestra to continue the course it has undertaken.

Chorus – Dumka, National Academic Choir of Ukraine

Dumka, National Academic Choir of Ukraine

Dumka, National Academic Choir of Ukraine

The National Academic Choral Capella “Dumka”  is the icon and tradition-setter of choral performance in Ukraine today. Founded in 1919 and led by such outstanding conductors as Nestor Horodovenko, Oleksandr Soroka, Pavlo Muravskyi, and Mykhaylo Krechko, Dumka established its own choral traditions and performance style. Since 1984, it has been under the leadership of the outstanding conductor and Shevchenko Prize laureate, academician Yevhen Savchuk.

If one were to describe Dumka's uniqueness, the closest fitting description might be “universalism,” which is evident in Mr. Savchuk’s selection of repertoire. First, it is music for chorus a capella, wherein traditional Ukrainian choral ensemble arrangements of folk songs coexist in Dumka programs and recordings with Western European Renaissance music, 18th century Ukrainian spiritual music of M. Dyletskyi, M. Berezovskyi, A. Vedel, D. Bortnianskyi, and 19th century music of M. Lysenko, K. Stetsenko, and M. Leontovych, as well as Russian romanticists P. Tchaikovskyi, O. Arkhanhelskyi, and S. Rachmaninov.

Second, it includes vocal-symphonic music. Here, the choir’s universalism is most evident. Its repertoire covers the spectrum of international chefs d’oeuvre – from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Scriabin’s Prometheus to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 andMissa Solemnis, and Penderecki’s “Credo” to Haydn’s The Seasons and Verdi’s Requiem, as well as works by Vivaldi, Mozart, Brahms, Borodin, Mahler, Tanieyev, Stravinsky, and Schnitke.

In performing these masterpieces, besides offering a masterful reading, Dumka displays its own Ukrainian-Slavic style, filled with softness, beauty, lyricism, glorious vocal timbre, freer tempos and a great dynamic expanse. Under Yevhen Savchuk’s direction, Dumka is often the first, if not the only, performer of the many works of Ukrainian contemporary composers. Dumka’s premieres have included Sylvestrov’s Diptych and Requiem for Laryssa, Stankovych’s Babyn Yar, Requiem, Legend about Prince Ihor’s Campaign, Laniuk’s Palimpsests, and others.

Dumka has 28 CDs to its credit, which are available in specialized music stores throughout Europe.

Dumka has reached the heights of success, as confirmed by listeners in Italy and Poland, Austria and Switzerland, Germany and Holland, France and the USA, Spain and Canada, Belgium and Great Britain. Having achieved world recognition and unquestionable authority, the choir confirms its unique status with every new concert and recording. A performance by Dumka is a celebration of sublime music, a contribution to humanity’s spiritual treasury and a manifestation of Ukraine’s creative genius.

Soprano – Gal James

Gal James

Israeli soprano Gal James is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the most important voices of her generation.

Most recently, she appeared as Mimi in La Bohème at Opera Vlaanderen and as Rusalka at Vienna State Opera. A former ensemble member of Oper Graz, her roles for this house have included Jenufa, Rusalka, Manon Lescaut, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nūrnberg, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Marguerite in Faust, Desdemona in Otello, Chrysothemis in Elektra, Liù in Turandot, Michaela in Carmen, Marietta in Die tote Stadt and Elsa in Lohengrin.

Highlights elsewhere include Rusalka at Semperoper Dresden, Rachel in La Juive at Opera Vlaanderen, Arabella for Theater St. Gallen, and Mimi at the Palau de les Arts Valencia, under Riccardo Chailly (released on DVD). As of season 2016/17, Gal James will be an ensemble member of Oper Leipzig, interpreting the roles of Agathe in Der Freischutz, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marguertite in Faust and Liù in Turandot.

In concert, Gal James has performed Strauss’s “Vier letzte Lieder” with the Bochumer Symphoniker, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Mendelssohn’s Elias with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, “Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42” with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, a selection of Strauss songs with the Grazer Philharmonisches Orchester at the Wiener Musikverein, Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Bochumer Symphoniker, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14 with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko (both released on CD).

In her home country, she has appeared with the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, the Israeli Philharmonic Singer’s Chorus, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and at the Jerusalem Music Center and the Abu-Gosh Festival.

Gal James has had the pleasure to work with renowned conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Seiji Ozawa, Neeme Järvi, Steven Sloane, Julien Salemkour, Johannes Fritzsch, Ion Marin, Dan Ettinger, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Tomas Netopil, Hervé Niquet, and Michael Boder.

She has won several awards, including third prize in the 2006 Belvedere Competition in Vienna and first prize in the 2005 Voice Competition of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel-Aviv University, her alma mater. After graduating as a cello player, she studied voice, coached by Prof. Mira Zakai. She is a former member of the opera studio of the Staatsoper Berlin and continues to study with Patricia McCaffrey.

Tenor – Benjamin Butterfield

Benjamin Butterfield

Benjamin Butterfield

Regarded by The New York Times as "clarion-voiced and vibrant," Benjamin Butterfield is known for his performances throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He has performed with many of the world’s leading conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, Bramwell Tovey, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Labadie, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Trevor Pinnock, Bruno Weil, and Marc Minkowski. 

Butterfield’s 2016/17 season features a dynamic range of repertoire showcasing his versatility in both concert and recital. He performs with the Calgary Philharmonic and Utah Symphony (Mozart’s Requiem), Kansas City Symphony and Newfoundland Symphony (Handel’s Messiah), and the Victoria Symphony in Carmina Burana and a special New Year’s celebration concert. Other performances include recitals at Vancouver Muzewest Concerts (Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin), Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, Elora Festival (Britten’s Canticle Two – Abraham and Isaac with Daniel Taylor), and Haydn’s Creation with Capriccio Vocal Ensemble. 

Recent performances include singing at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Haydn’s Creation), Mozart Concert arias and duets at Lincoln Center with the American Classical Orchestra, Haydn Masses with San Diego Symphony and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, and Britten’s Serenade with L’Orchestre Lyrique de Montreal as well as War Requiem with the Victoria Symphony. Butterfield has also appeared at the Pacific Baroque Festival under Marc Destrubé, Luminous Voices (Mozart’s Requiem), Elgin Symphony (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9), and the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival in Vermont (Schubert’s Auf dem Strom and Janacek’s The Diary of One who Disappeared as well as Wagner Lieder and Finzi’s Farewell to Arms). He also continued his regular appearances with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem in their annual two-week May Festival and recently portrayed the role of Mime in Das Rheingold with his home opera company, Pacific Opera Victoria. 

Associate professor, head of voice and co-head of performance for the School of Music at the University of Victoria, Mr. Butterfield is the 2015 recipient of the UVic Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression. He has also served as guest faculty for Opera Nuova, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, the Victoria Conservatory Summer Vocal Academy, Vancouver International Song Institute, Yellow Barn, and Opera on the Avalon.  

A prolific recording artist, he has recorded for Analekta, Dorian, CBC Records, Koch International and Timpani (France). He has also been featured in Messiah on ZDF at the Handel-Festspiele Halle with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert and on CBC Radio twice as a guest host for This is My Music. Recently Mr. Butterfield recorded the St. John Passion with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem (Analekta), the Rhien transcription of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for Yellow Barn and a sixth CD of Ukrainian art songs for the Ukrainian Art Song Project in Toronto.  

Cellist – Roman Borys

Roman Borys,
photo John Beebe

Over the course of two decades, cellist and producer Roman Borys has distinguished himself as one of Canada’s leading artistic voices. As a founding member of the two-time Juno Award-winning Gryphon Trio, he has released 17 acclaimed records on the Analekta and Naxos labels, toured internationally since 1993, and broken new artistic ground through cross genre collaborations and multimedia performances. In 2013, the Gryphon Trio was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts’ Walter Carsen Award for Achievement in the Arts. 

As the Executive and Artistic Director of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, Roman oversees all aspects of programming its summer Chamberfest, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world, and its fall-winter concert series. Deeply committed to classical music outreach and audience development, Roman has conceived, developed and produced the Gryphon Trio’s flagship educational program Listen Up! in communities across Canada since 2010. 

Roman lives and works in Toronto and has an Honorary Doctorate from Carleton University.