Performers at the 2022 Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival in NYC. Photo by Joanna Mieleszko.

“The shadow of the war in Ukraine once again hovered over the Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival on Friday when it began its three-day tribute to the 20th-century composer Borys Liatoshynsky at Merkin Hall,” writes Oussama Zahr in Sunday’s (3/19) New York Times. “Hours before the opening-night program, which highlighted composers who influenced Liatoshynsky, the International Criminal Court accused the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, of war crimes … When the 2022 festival took place … Putin [attempted] to justify his actions in part by claiming that Ukraine had no independent cultural identity…. On Saturday, the second day of programming traced a pedagogical lineage from Liatoshynsky to several living composers. The Sunday afternoon program pairs two Liatoshynsky quartets with works by Bartók and Copland, composers who, like Liatoshynsky, are credited with defining a national style. Again and again, reclamation resists erasure…. Liatoshynsky, a composer with an intensely volatile style, wrote music that didn’t comply with the Soviet Union’s aesthetic of socialist realism…. After Stalin’s death, he found his way back to his original compositional voice late in life and is now remembered as the father of Ukrainian contemporary music.” The article also discusses the works by other composers performed in the festival.