Gary Kulesha: Larysa Kuzmenko A Prayer for string orchestra

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Larysa Kuzmenko (b. 1956) (Canada)
A Prayer for string orchestra (1993)
Dir : Gary Kulesha

Larysa Kuzmenko is a Toronto-based composer and pianist. In March of 1992, Ms. Kuzmenko appeared as pianist in the premiere at Jane Mallet Theatre of her "Sonata for Cello and Piano". In 1992, the Royal Canadian College of Organists commissioned a new work for solo organ, "Atlantis". On February 19, 1993, "A Prayer for String Orchestra" was premiered by the Mississauga Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra. In March of 1993, "Tekahionwake for narrator, voice, and piano", based on the life and poetry of Pauline Johnson, was premiered at the George Ignatieff Theatre. On July 24, 1993, The Composers' Orchestra premiered Kuzmenko's "Accordion Concerto", with soloist Joseph Macerollo, conducted by Gary Kulesha.

Kuzmenko's "Piano Concerto", commissioned by the CBC, was premiered on January 23, 1996 by the Winnipeg Symphony under the direction of Bramwell Tovey, with soloist Christina Petrowska. On July 6, 1998, her song cycle "In search of Eldorado" was premiered by mezzo soprano Catherine Robin.

Her solo piano piece "In memoriam : to the Victims of Chornobyl" (1997), was performed by Christina Petrowska. In September of 2000, Ms. Kuzmenko was commissioned through the Ontario Arts Council to compose "Lilith", for English Horn and string quartet, and a concerto for piano, percussion and string orchestra.

Kuzmenko was commissioned by the Laidlaw Foundation to compose "Capriccio" for string quartet, percussion, and four flutes. She was commissioned by the Hannaford Street Silver Band to write a piano concerto that was premiered in November of 2002 with pianist Andrew Burashko and conducted by Gary Kulesha. In June of 2003, her "Impromptu and Toccata" for Brass Quintet was premiered in Illinois by the Illinois State University Faculty Brass Quintet. "Entre Amis", for solo cello and piano, was premiered at the Parry Sound Festival on July 20, 2003.

On November 15, 2003, "Voice of Hope" for soprano and string orchestra, commissioned by the Vesnivka Choir. Kuzmenko's "Cello Concerto" was premiered on November 25 of 2004 by soloist Shauna Rolston with the Thunder Bay Orchestra, conducted by Geoffrey Moull. On March 2008 her choral piece "Gaude Virgo Gloriosa" was premiered at Victoria Chapel by the University of Women's Chorus. Kaori Yamagami premiered Kuzmenko's "Fantasy" for solo cello on November 20, 2008 in Toronto.

She has been recently commissioned to write a work for the Cantabile Choir in Kingston. In addition, Kuzmenko has been commissioned through the Ontario Arts Council to write an orchestral work using aboriginal themes for Orchestra London.
"Polynia" for basset horn, violin, and piano, commissioned by the Riverdale Ensemble through the Ontario Arts Council and her new work "Silver Birds" for solo piano, were both premiered during this event.

"Christmas Bells" for children's choir and piano was premiered on December 17 and 18, 2010 in Kingston by the Cantabile Choir under the direction of Mark Sirett.
In March of 2011, Ms. Kuzmenko's "Piano Concerto" was nominated for a Juno Award under the category of "Classical Composition of the Year".
"A Journey to a New Life" for string quartet was commissioned by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Hamilton Branch, on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada.

Larysa Kuzmenko's "Behold the Night" was premiered in Roy Thomson Hall by the Toronto Children's Choir, under the direction of Elise Bradley and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Ounjian during the TSO's opening night gala concert on September 22, 2011.

Ms Kuzmenko is currently on staff at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, where she teaches piano, harmony, and composition.