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CONDUCTOR TATIANA KALINICHENKO: it is important to disenchant Ukraine for the world! (Part II)

CONDUCTOR TATIANA KALINICHENKO: it is important to disenchant Ukraine for the world! (Part I)
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Tatiana Kalinichenko. Artistic Director and Conductor of the New Era Orchestra. Photo: Dmitry Peretrutov


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Of course, the pandemic has severely limited the options for musicians and music lovers. Touring, creative and financial. However, we decided to use this time not only for survival, but also for development.

I read somewhere that if you look at a laughing person, it somehow works on a subconscious level and your immunity rises. For the orchestra’s birthday, which is celebrated in April, we presented ourselves with a gift – we held a small flash mob and created a special collage of our “laughing” photographs. And then we made a special project for Radio Iceland – we recorded the Monteverdi overture remotely.

Being online did not stop us from inventing something all the time. The life of an orchestra is a continuous development. All true musicians are really hard-working. Seeming spontaneity and lightness are the result of their work. From childhood you discipline yourself, refuse to do many things, constantly learn, strive for the best. If this “panic button” is turned off, you, as a musician, die.



Unfortunately, Ukraine does not train managers for the classical music industry. So I had to learn everything on the fly. Intuition, sociability, organizational skills – something, of course, is inherent in nature, but I have to constantly develop these skills.

When I was 18 years old, without entering the university, I decided to work at school for one year. There I immediately organized an orchestra of teachers and students. The school was in full swing, we constantly put on operas, musicals…

When I entered the conservatory, the head teacher crossed herself: finally, instead of singing, dancing and playing, the children would start learning, and the school would no longer look like an opera house! Today, in the orchestra, I perform duties that, perhaps, could be divided among 15 separate positions.

About three years ago, we decided to try to change this management model: creativity on the one hand, finance, contracts, workflow on the other hand. However, the quarantine did not make it possible to fully implement these plans. But I hope that sooner or later everything will work out. There are creative tasks where it is impossible to replace me, but there is management, which may well be carried out professionally by someone else.


CONDUCTOR TATIANA KALINICHENKO: it is important to disenchant Ukraine for the world! (Part II)
Joshua Bell and Tatiana Kalinichenko, Kyiv, 2021. Photo: Alina Harmash



We believe that concerts of Ukrainian performers abroad are the best promotion of Ukraine in the world. For example, for 12 years I have been thinking about a project called Ukrainian Seasons. The idea arose back in 2007, when we played one of the first concerts, performing Russian Seasons by the Kharkiv resident Leonid Desyatnikov, who now lives in St. Petersburg. It is a concert for violin, soprano and chamber orchestra based on folk songs.

Once he bought a collection of these songs for ridiculous money, took the melodic basis from there and, by order of Gidon Kremer, created an unusual cycle, combining together a variety of composing schools.

When I suggested to Desyatnikov to think about the idea of ​​Ukrainian Seasons, he has been denying it for a long time, referring to being busy and lazy. Nevertheless, last year he wrote Bukovinian Songs for piano. But I still kept thinking about creating a completely new Ukrainian cycle.

The decision came when I was at the concert of Susanna Karpenko, an incredibly talented folk singer. I thought it would be great to make an arrangement for a chamber orchestra, that is, leave the orchestral fabric as academic, and the vocal line as folk.

Together with Susanna, we selected songs for almost six months – some were 300-400 years old, and some she wrote herself. These are amazing tunes. One can hear Balkan, Romanian, Ukrainian and Greek motives in them… One of them, in an incomprehensible way, coincided with Monteverdi’s Zefiro torna. I do not know how to explain such phenomena. Apparently, all cultures have common, deep roots…



The combination of the incongruous is a phenomenon called the Medici effect. Frans Johansson dedicated a book to it. This creative approach is very close to me. There are many manifestations of this effect in our project Ukrainian Seasons. It’s obvious to me that


Ukraine is an unexplored cultural world, in which not only Ukrainians, but also residents of other countries will have to make many of the most incredible discoveries


For the Ukrainian Seasons project, a wonderful Ukrainian composer and our constant partner Artem Roshchenko has already made a series of arrangements. The premiere took place at the BOUQUET KYIV STAGE festival in 2019. Now we are working on adding a few more old melodies to the cycle and then recording a disc.



It is important to disenchant Ukraine for the world. Because today in relation to our country there is a certain blurred perception. We want to push the boundaries, present Ukrainian culture and music abroad, and develop the country’s brand.

I would like Ukrainians to value themselves more, their own cultural uniqueness. Through soft power, which is culture, it is much easier to reach out to others, to make real friends and partners.

Unfortunately, young gifted musicians have been leaving Ukraine for a long time, preferring to pursue a career abroad. In order to self-actualize here, super-efforts are needed, like those that we apply.

Combining creativity with the “struggle for survival” is very difficult, it rarely motivates anyone. However, for me it is not only a way of life, but also a conscious choice. I like living in Ukraine and representing it abroad.

We want Ukraine to sound on the international music arena, and so that as many Ukrainian musicians as possible receive international recognition and the opportunity to improve not only abroad, but also at home.


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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, polls of this kind were in vogue, long before the French writer Marcel Proust drew attention to them. But it was precisely his addiction to such questionnaires that made them a kind of “classic” instrument of psychoanalysis available to the broad masses.

If the dialogue between the writer Marcel Proust and conductor Tatyana Kalinichenko were possible, it would look something like this:

The most important trait of your character…


What virtues do you value most in people?


What character trait do you value in men?


In women…


Your biggest flaw…

Hot temper.

Your favorite pastime…

I like Zumba fitness program based on Latin American dances.

Your idea of ​​happiness…

Happiness is not a state, but a process.

Your idea of ​​unhappiness…

In my mind, indifferent people are the most unhappy in the world.

If you weren’t a musician or conductor, what would you be?

Theater director or choreographer.

If you did not live in Kyiv, where?

Somewhere where the winter is not so cold.

The most vivid childhood memory…

When, after my persistent requests, my parents bought me a piano Red October.

The event that changed your life the most…

Meeting with teacher Andrey Kushnirenko, which took place in Chernivtsi.

How to find your calling?

They choose their life’s work by passion. It is she who pushes a person to take decisive actions related to changing his fate…

What vices do you feel most condescending to? What human vice can you forgive?

The absent-mindedness that creative people often suffer from due to over-concentration on the task.

Your favorite writers…


The movie that touched you the most…

All the Mornings of the World.

Is there more random or natural in your life?

Accidents are not accidental, although they do happen sometimes.

Your favorite saying…

“When a tree grows, it is soft and flexible, and when it is dry and tough, it dies. Callousness and strength are companions of death. Weakness and flexibility – express the freshness of being. Therefore, what is solidified will not win”. It is a quote from the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky.

How would you like to die?

I prefer not to think about it.


Interviewed by Zhanna Kryuchkova, Vlad Mikheev


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