Razom Hosts Evening with Ukrainian Conductor Oksana Lyniv

On Sunday, April 14, 2024, Razom for Ukraine hosted a Q&A event with maestro Oksana Lyniv, following one of her last performances of “Turandot” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.


Maestro Lyniv made history as the first female chief conductor of an Italian opera house at Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Her debut at the Bayreuth Festival with Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman”, marked another milestone as the first female conductor in the festival’s history. With a remarkable career spanning prestigious venues worldwide, Ms. Lyniv finally graced New York with her presence in 2024, as the first Ukrainian conductor to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.

Razom Board Member, Maria Genkin, moderated the discussion that spanned topics from Ms. Lyniv’s creative process to her cultural diplomacy. The assembled guests heard about how much research goes into conducting a new composer and a new opera, prior to performing, such as investigating what musical and historical background composers like Puccini had, at the time of his work. Also discussed, the differences between the production of the Turandot staged in New York City and the previous one she conducted in Rome, Italy in March 2022. That one, directed by Ai Wei Wei, was framed by a political message that included fresh images from Ukraine’s Bucha.

Maestro Lyniv talked about the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, an ensemble that she founded, and how this group is representing Ukraine and performing Ukrainian composers at various international festivals. This work is not only a part of cultural diplomacy, but a vital component of developing the next generation of Ukrainian musicians. The topic of the controversial decision to conduct Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at the Dresden Opera this July was also touched upon. The conversation explored how “cancel culture” works in various countries, and how Ms. Lyniv is planning to use this performance to change the narrative about this composer.


“I often hear the comparison that when Ukrainians perform works by Russian authors, they seem to be siding with the enemy. But in reality, it works differently. Russian classical works are just a common musical resource. Furthermore, these works no longer surprise anyone, and no political coloring is projected onto them. The works of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc., stand alongside the works of Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, Ravel, etc., and are perceived as mandatory repertoire that every professional musician should master.

Therefore, Ukrainians who achieve success, including by using “their” Russian repertoire resources, are actually moving forward and advancing in creating new performance opportunities for Ukrainian music. It’s akin to our defenders on the front lines seizing the enemy’s weapons and using them to reclaim new territories.” – explains Ms. Lyniv.

Razom is proud to announce that we will be providing grant support for a visit by four Ukrainian performers from the Youth Symphony Orchestra for a visit to Carnegie Hall’s World Orchestra Week in August. Ukrainian musicians will participate in the European Union Youth Orchestra performance on August 6th. As per maestro Lyniv, while Ukraine is not a part of the European Union, it is an important symbolic measure to have young Ukrainian musicians included in this performance.

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