Music 03

Yuriy Oliynyk

December 1, 1931 ~ September 13, 2021 (age 89)

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Yuriy Oliynyk was one of those talented people who make up the elite of any society. Like most political emigrants from Ukraine, he never forgot his origins and spent his life trying to make the world known and remembered for the existence of the now independent Ukraine, which was part of the USSR a decade ago. His active performing, pedagogical, musical and public activities, and in particular, his work as a composer are a clear confirmation of his faithful service to his people. Oliynyk's work is an emotionally touching, written passionately and skillfully music that puts him on a par with prominent Ukrainian composers of our time.

A beautiful man of good temperament, always smiling, bright as his music… so he will remain in our hearts. May His soul rest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Sincere condolences to the person closest to him and dearest to him - his wife Ola Herasymenko-Oliynyk.

Yuriy Oliynyk was born on December 1, 1931 in Ternopil, in the family of the famous Ukrainian lawyer Oleksa Oliynyk and Natalka Furtak. His first piano teacher was Iryna Krykh - an outstanding pianist and teacher, later a professor at the Lviv State Conservatory. M. Lysenko.

In the postwar years, persecuted by the Soviet authorities, the Oliynyk family was forced to emigrate, first to Austria, and later to Germany where Yuri continued his studies. From 1946 to 1948 his teacher was a prominent Ukrainian pianist Roman Savitsky, and from 1949 to 1950 Yuri studied with the famous pianist Franz Wagner (Berchtesgaden, Bavaria).

In 1950, Yuri Oliynyk moved to the United States with his parents and sisters. There he received his higher musical education at the Cleveland Institute of Music in the class of the famous American pianist Arthur Lesser (bachelor's degree, 1956) and at the Case Western Reserve University of Musicology (master's degree, 1959). In addition to his own music and the music of classic and modern composers, in his concert performances on the American continent Yuri Oliynyk always performed music by Vasyl Barvinsky, Stanislav Lyudkevych, Mykola Kolessa, Viktor Kosenko, Levko Revutsky, Roman Savitsky.

He taught at the Cleveland school “Settlement” (1956-59), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1960-67), the University of California (1985-87, 1990-93), and the American River College in Sacramento, the administrative capital of California. (taught the course "Fundamentals of Music Theory" and "Introduction to Music", 2000-2015), and also worked constantly with students of a private music studio in the piano class.

Composer’s talent of Yuriy Oliynyk was manifested during his studies at the university when his first serious music was written. Later, Yuri Oliynyk wrote the piano Fantasia for the left hand (1962), Five Etudes for piano (1969). Among the opuses that the composer himself noted in his work are the three-part Sonata for piano (1977), the Concerto for piano and orchestra "Ritual" or "Ritual" (1988) and the Concerto for clarinet and orchestra (2005). All the above works of Yuri Oliynyk are written in modern musical language using various compositional techniques.

The composer’s creative output includes a number of chamber instrumental and vocal-instrumental pieces, as well as a collection of children’s pieces for piano, written on the basis of Ukrainian folk melody. In 1975, in New York, "Heroic Song" by Yuri Oliynyk in the words of Alexander Oles (for baritone and piano) won the competition. Larisa Tselevich.

In recent decades, Yuriy Oliynyk has focused on composing music for the bandura, which was facilitated by a fruitful collaboration with his wife - the famous bandura player, Honored Artist of Ukraine Olga Herasymenko-Oliynyk, who not only became the composer's muse, his ideological companion in life, but also efforts to print and publish works by the composer.

Yuriy Oliynyk's music not only enriched the educational and pedagogical and concert repertoire of the bandura player, but also became a model of a new original compositional thinking in the bandura. Six concerts for bandura with a symphony orchestra! Sonata for bandura, rondo "Ukrainian Christmas", two suites for bandura with piano - "Four Journeys to Ukraine" (1995) and "The Incredible Adventures of Kozak Mamaia" (2009), polyphonic cycles and a number of plays - all these works have become significant contribution to the treasury of modern bandura art and Ukrainian musical culture.

Yuriy Oliynyk was an active public figure in the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States, and was one of the founders of the Society for the Preservation of the Ukrainian Heritage of Northern California (1982), which he headed for many years, and the Ukrainian Academic Society of California. Since 1996, he has been a member of the Historical Advisory Committee of the California Department of Education. Together with his wife Olga Herasymenko-Oliynyk, they regularly held lectures and concerts in schools, colleges, universities, where they introduced Americans to the history and musical culture of Ukraine. Their publication of a reference book about Ukraine was an invaluable achievement in the field of Ukrainian studies.

In 1999, for his personal contribution to Ukrainian culture and popularization of Ukrainian music in the world, Yuriy Oliynyk was awarded the Diploma of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and in 2008 by the Decree of the President of Ukraine he was awarded the Order of Merit III degree for significant contribution to historical and modern achievements of Ukraine in the world.

In 2011 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine awarded Yuriy Oliynyk (First President of the Society for the Preservation of Ukrainian Heritage of Northern California, USA) the Honorary Award of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for significant personal contribution to the preservation and development of Ukrainian music, strengthening Ukrainian-American relations and affirmation of a positive image of Ukraine in the world.

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