Music Toronto reviews the Summer Institute

SCRUTINY | Inaugural Ukrainian Art Song Summer Institute Concert Showcases Voices Of Tomorrow

By Joseph So on August 15, 2017

“They came as nine singers, and after this week, they leave as nine artists.” Those were the words of British-Ukrainian bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka, the driving force behind the Ukrainian Art Song Project, which he founded in 2004. The occasion was the final concert of the first-ever Ukrainian Art Song Summer Institute that just concluded at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Even with a gloriously sunny summer afternoon ideal for outdoor leisure, the event at the Temerty Theatre (RCM) drew a full house. It underscores the fierce loyalty of Ukrainian-Canadian music lovers, who are inspired and motivated by the passion and commitment of Pavlo Hunka, who has worked tirelessly to bring the vast treasures of Ukrainian art songs to the classical music world. With this concert, his dream has taken yet another step towards fruition.

The nine singers who participated in the Summer Institute came from near and far—Canada, the U.S., and the Ukraine. They are young professionals, all with considerable performing experience already. They spent an intensive week of Ukrainian art song immersion in Toronto, under the tutelage of Hunka himself, as well as choral conductor Melanie Turgeon, and pianists Albert Krywolt and Robert Kortgaard. This is exactly the kind of opportunity so valuable to up-and-coming singers, offering them that extra fine-tuning so important for the future....