Alto flute for the  Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra

The Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra (Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra) was officially established on September 27, 1902, as on this day, the first concert of the newly formed orchestra took place in the Philharmonic Theater of Count Stanislav Skarbko (presently known as the Ukrainian National Academic Theater of Drama named after Maria Zankovetska). The orchestra’s principal conductor was Ludwik Vitezslav Czelianski (1870 – 1931). Henryk Jarecki and Henryk Meltzer-Szczawinski worked alongside him as conductors of the orchestra.

During the first season, the orchestra performed nearly 115 concerts, with the total number of audience members exceeding 115,000 listeners. The concert programs featured the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, symphonic works by Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Antonin Dvorak, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Camille Saint-Saëns, Peter Tschaikovsky and others. Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, and Mieczyslaw Karlowicz performed as invited conductors with the Lviv orchestra during this first season. 

In 1933, the orchestra became incorporated as the Philharmonic Orchestra. According to the announcements, the “Inaugural” symphony concert of the newly formed orchestra of Lviv Philharmonic took place on November 20, 1933. Adam Soltys led the orchestra, in particular in the first season he combined the functions of a director and artistic director. He actively worked with the orchestra until 1938. During this period, the symphony orchestra was performed by prominent composers – Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok, Karol Szymanowski, soloists – Artur Rubinstein, Ferruccio Busoni, Wanda Landowska, Leopold Godowski, Jacob Milstein, Eugene Isai, Pablo Corvadam – Szymanowska and many others.

With the advent of the Soviet regime, the orchestra was led by Isaac Pain.  Lviv conductor and composer Mykola Kolessa was also invited to work in the orchestra. During the German occupation, in 1941-1944, the Philharmonic did not operate. In the postwar period, the orchestra had to be re-assembled, which was the joint effort of Isaac Pain, Dionysius Khabal, Nestor Hornytsky, and Mykola Kolessa. The team resumed work in August 1944. The first concerts featured works by Stanislav Liudkevych, Vasyl Barvinsky, Mykola Lysenko, Stanislav Monyushko, Camille Saint-Saens, Peter Tchaikovsky, Karl Maria von Weber, and others.

During 1953-1957 and later – in 1987-1989 the conductor of the orchestra was Yuriy Lutsiv. From 1964 to 1987, the symphony orchestra was led by Demyan Pelekhatyi, who worked fruitfully with colleagues Roman Filipchuk and Ihor Simovich. From 1989 the main conductor of the orchestra was Ivan Yuziuk, and the conductors were Roman Fylypchuk and Yarema Kolessa. Later this position was held by Aidar Torybayev, Ilya Stupel, and Taras Krysa.

Since 2018, the orchestra has been fruitfully cooperating with the famous American conductor of Ukrainian origin Theodore Kuchar, the principal guest conductor of the orchestra, and from May 2022 – the chief conductor of the Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.

In 2006, the Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra was awarded the title of Academic. In 2018, with the participation of this orchestra, during the author’s concert of Myroslav Skoryk, the Lviv Philharmonic received the status of “national”. Since September 2020, the Philharmonic is named after this outstanding Ukrainian composer.

Famous musicians of the 20 th century have been performing with the orchestra since the 1950s: Sviatoslav Richter, Heinrich and Stanislav Neuhaus, Emil Gilels, Dmytro Bashkirov, Mariya Chaikovska, Viktoria Lukyanets, Gidon Kremer, Dmytro Tkachenko, Roman Hrynkiv, Myroslava Kotorovych, Oleksandr Slobodyanyk, Bohodar Kotorovych, Oleh Krysa, Olga Batystyuk, Lidia Shutko, Jozhef Ermin, Oksana Rapita, Etela Chupryk.

Author’s concerts of Krzysztof Penderecki, Andrzej Nikodemovich, Dmytro Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian, as well as Ukrainian artists – Stanislav Liudkevych, Mykola Kolessa, Anatoliy Kos-Anatolsky, Myroslav Skoryk, Valentyn Sylvestrov, Yevhen Stankovych, Ihr Scherbakov, etc.

Important pages in the history of the orchestra are the collaboration with famous conductors, including Fuat Mansurov, Nathan Rakhlin, Nicolae Popescu, Kurt Masur, Saulius Sondeckis, Theodore Kuchar, Mariss Jansons, Vincent Kozlovsky, Gudni A. Emilsson Kukhar, etc., as well as Ukrainian conductors Stefan Turchak, Mykola Pokrovskyi, Fedir Hlushchenko, Ihor Blazhkov, Roman Kofman, Ivan Hamkalo, Volodymyr Kozhukhar, Volodymyr Sirenko, Mykola Diadiura, Viktor Ploskina, Hobarte Earle, Yuriy Yanko, Victoria Zhadko, Yurii Bervetskyi.

The Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra is a regular participant in international festivals, in particular, the International Festival of Musical Art “Virtuosos”, the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Contrasts”, the Ukrainian-Polish Festival “Discovering Paderewski” and others. The Academic Symphony Orchestra of Lviv National Philharmonic is one of the largest in Ukraine and is well known far beyond its borders.

The orchestra has toured in many countries around the world, including Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and China. During the past several seasons they have completed highly-acclaimed recordings for major international labels including Naxos and Brilliant Classics.

 In December 2023, the orchestra performed at the Berlin Philharmonic, presenting music by Ukrainian composers.

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