Stefania Turkewich / Galicians I

Stefania Turkewich (1898-1977)       

Stefania Turkewich (1898_1977)

Stefania Turkewich (1898_1977)

Ukraine’s first woman composer is Stefania Turkewich.  She began her music studies with her mother, who was a pupil of Karol Mikuli, the director of the Lemberg Conservatory in Galicia. Then, at the Lysenko Institute in Lviv, she was taught by Vasyl Barvinsky.  After World War I, Turkewicz studied in Lviv with Adolf Chybinski at the Lviv University, and also at the Lysenko conservatory. She then moved to Austria and studied with Guido Adler at the University of Vienna and Joseph Marx at the music academy.

 In 1925, she travelled with her first husband to Berlin where she studied with Franz Schreker and the influential expressionist, Arnold Schoenberg; in Prague she studied with Zdenek Nejedly at Charles University, with Otakar Sin at the conservatory, and with Vitezslav Novak at the music academy.  She received her doctorate in musicology in 1934.  From 1935 to 1939, she taught harmony and piano at the Lysenko Institute in Lviv, and, from 1940 to 1944, she lectured at the Lviv State Conservatory.

 Fleeing from the Soviets, Turkewich immigrated to England with her second husband in 1946.  There she spent much of her time composing, but many of her works have never been performed.  Stylistically they are much more modern, but still hearken back to Ukrainian folksongs, when they are not post-romantic, atonal or expressionistic in character.