BIOGRAPHY
FULL BIOGRAPHY
Larysa Kuzmenko is a Toronto-based composer and pianist.  Her music has been performed and broadcast throughout the world.  Her choral works have been published by Boosey and Hawkes.

In March of 1992, Ms. Kuzmenko appeared as pianist in the premiere at Jane Mallet Theatre of her Sonata for Cello and Piano.  This work was repeated on a Continuum concert in June of 1992, and was broadcast on Two New Hours in August of 1991.  It was subsequently released on CD.

In 1992, the Royal Canadian College of Organists commissioned a new work for solo organ, “Atlantis”, which has been published by Jaymar Publishing Company.  “Atlantis” was premiered by Michael Bloss on July 15, 1993, in Montreal.  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.  It was commissioned for Classical Cabaret by the Laidlaw Foundation.  On July 24, 1993, The Composers' Orchestra premiered Kuzmenko's Accordion Concerto, with soloist Joseph Macerollo, conducted by Gary Kulesha.  This was broadcast on Two New Hours in the fall of 1993.

Ms. 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.  In October of 1996, it was performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jukka Pekka Saraste and was released on CD by Centrediscs in 2010 ("Christina Petrowska Quilico", 3 Concerti) earning Larysa Kuzmenko a 2011 Juno nomination in the Classical Composition of the Year category.  On July 6, 1998, her song cycle “In search of Eldorado” was premiered by mezzo soprano Catherine Robin.  This work was commissioned by the Laidlaw Foundation, as was her “Suite of Dances” for flute, cello and piano, which was premiered at the Glenn Gould Studio, and released on CD by Musica Viva.

Her solo piano piece “In memoriam:  to the Victims of Chornobyl” (1997), was released on CD by Christina Petrowska.  In November of 1998, Ms. Petrowska toured this work in New York City, China, and Taiwan. In January of 2002, Naida Cole performed this work at the Jane Mallet Theater. This work was subsequently performed throughout the world by several pianists.

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.  “Lilith” was premiered at Jane Mallet Theatre by Mooredale Concerts, and the Concerto was premiered by Beverly Johnston, Mary Kenedi, and the Windsor Symphony, conducted by Susan Haig on January 12, 2001.   Ms. Kuzmenko was commissioned by the Laidlaw Foundation to compose “Capriccio” for string quartet, percussion, and four flutes.  This work was premiered on March 23, 2003, by Mooredale Concerts, with soloists Beverly Johnston and Vicky Blechta.  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. This work was commissioned by the International Women's Brass Conference. “Entre Amis”, for solo cello and piano, was premiered at the Parry Sound Festival on July 20, 2003.  This work was performed by Kristine Bogyo and Anton Kuerti.  On November 15, 2003, “Voice of Hope” for soprano and string orchestra, commissioned by the Vesnivka Choir, was premiered in Toronto with soprano Katerina Tchoubar and the Composer's Orchestra conducted by Gary Kulesha.  This work commemorated the 1932-1933 Famine-Genocide in Ukraine. “Dreams” for SATB Choir and Piano Trio was premiered on July 11, 2004, by the Elora Festival Singers and the Gryphon Trio, conducted by Noel Edison.  This work was commissioned by the Festival and the Trio with the financial assistance of the Laidlaw Foundation, and was subsequently performed again by the Elora Singers with the Gryphon Trio at Jane Mallett Theatre, and then twice by the Iseler Singers with the Gryphon Trio, conducted by Doreen Rao.  Ms. Kuzmenko's cello concerto was premiered on November 25 of 2004 by soloist Shauna Rolston with the Thunder Bay Orchestra, conducted by Geoffrey Moull, a performance that was broadcast by CBC Radio.  This work was commissioned by Shauna Rolston through the Ontario Arts Council.

On March 2008 her choral piece “Gaude Virgo Gloriosa” was premiered at Victoria Chapel by the University of Women's Chorus.  “Gaude Virgo Gloriosa” and “Dreams” have been chosen for publication with Boosey and Hawkes.

Kaori Yamagami premiered Ms. Kuzmenko's “Fantasy” for solo cello on November 20, 2008 in Toronto.  This work was commissioned by the Toronto Women's Music Club. She has been recently commissioned to write a work for the Cantabile Choir in Kingston.  In addition, Ms. Kuzmenko has been commissioned through the Ontario Arts Council to write an orchestral work using aboriginal themes for Orchestra London.  Ms. Kuzmenko was chosen to be a composer in residence in January 2009 for the New Music Festival at the Memorial University in Newfoundland.

In 2010, Larysa Kuzmenko was chosen by the North York Music Festival to be their Senior Festival Composer.  On February 5, 2010, the NYCO presented a concert of her music in Walter Hall at the University of Toronto.  “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.  Some of the featured artists were, Christina Petrowska-Quilico, Simon Fryer, Lorna MacDonald and the Riverdale Ensemble.

"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. This work was commissioned by the Cantabile Choir.

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. The work was premiered by the Annex Quartet in Hamilton on September 24, 2011.

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 Oundjian during the TSO's opening night gala concert on September 22, 2011. There was an additional performance on September 24, 2011. This work was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with the financial assistance of the Ontario Arts Council. The concert celebrated the Toronto Symphony's 90th anniversary.

"Rhapsody" for string quartet was commissioned by Mooredale concerts in 2011. It was premiered in Toronto by the Afiara string quartet on April 15, 2012 in Walter Hall.

Larysa recently completed an OAC commission for the Metis Quartet. This work is based on an aboriginal story for solo violin, cello, viola and voice with orchestra. It will be premiered during the Pan Am games in 2015 in Toronto.

"One Sister Have I in our House" for Women's chorus and piano was commissioned and premiered in Austin Texas by the Tapestry Singers in 2011.

"Gloria" (2013) for Women's Chorus and Piano. It was jointly commissioned and premiered by Bella Voce Women's Chorus of Vermont in Burlington Vermont on May 17, 2014, in Toronto, by the University of Toronto's Women's Chamber Choir on October 19 and December 7, 2014 and in Vancouver, by Elektra Women's Choir on November 29, 2014.

"Metropolis Overture" (2014) for Orchestra, was commissioned by the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra. It was premiered by the MSO and conducted by Denis Mastromonaco on October 18, 2014 in the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. This work celebrated Mississauga's 40th anniversary.

"Behold the Night" for Orchestra and Children's Chorus had its USA premiere in New Hampshire on November 29, 2014. It was performed by the New Hampshire Philharmonic and the Pinkerton Academy Student Choir in the Stockbridge Theater at Pinkerton Academy New Hampshire. It was conducted by Mark Latham

Larysa Kuzmenko's "Golden Harvest" is a 30 minute Oratorio for orchestra, SATB, solo soprano and solo baritone. The work was commissioned by Laurence Ewashko and funded by the Shevchenko Foundation. It commemorates the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. The work was premiered on March 18 and 19, 2016 at Centennial Hall, Winnipeg. Conducted by Alexander Mickelthwaite. Performed by soprano Andriana Chuchman, baritone Michale Nyby and the Mennonite Festival Chorus.

A newly arranged, and shortened piano quintet version, was performed during the Ottawa International Chamber Music festival on July 22, 2016 at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church. This arrangement was performed by members of the Gryphon Trio, violinist Noemi Racine Gaudreault, violist Graham Oppenheimer, soprano Monica Whicher, baritone Russell Braun, and the Ewashko Singers conducted by Laurence Ewashko.

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


MEMORIAM
“Memoriam for the victims of Chornobyl”

Has recently been published by Plangere Publications and is available through them at www.plangere.com. Plangere is also publishing Fantasy for Solo Cello and "In Search of Eldorado" in versions for mezzo soprano and soprano.

LATEST REVIEWS
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011

Behold the Night

 

Kuzmenko's new work, Behold the Night, is a two-movement setting of a pair of poems from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Over hill, over dale," and "Now the hungry lion roars." Scored for orchestra and children's choir, it's a harmonically conservative work – as charming and colourful as any film score by Danny Elfman or John Williams. 

— Colin Eatock

LATEST COMPACT DISC RELEASES
Cellist Vernon Regehr presents previously unrecorded, unaccompanied works of six composers, all written in the past decade. As the title of the album suggests, the works display a highly varied array of expressive and emotional landscapes, utilizing the instrument's broad range of tone colour.
 
Kuzmenko's "One Sister Have I in Our House" for Women's chorus and piano was commissioned by the Tapestry Singers in joyful celebration of their sister singer Sandy Quarles, a gentle soul and a lively spirit. Recorded live at St. Matthews Episcopal Church.
 
Kuzmenko's JUNO Nominated Piano Concerto on Compact Disc with Pianist "Christina Petrowska Quilico".
 

LINKS TO COLLEAGUES