Julian Kytasty

Julian Kytasty was born in Detroit, Michigan, into a family of Ukrainian refugees who came to the United States after World War II. He is a third generation player of the bandura, a Ukrainian stringed instrument with similarities to the lute and the zither. He first learned the instrument from his father and grandfather, and from his great uncle Hryhory Kytasty, a renowned composer and conductor. In 1980 he moved to New York to be the music director of the New York Bandura Ensemble and began a career that has taken him all over the world. As a performer, recording artist, composer, teacher, and ensemble leader, he has redefined the possibilities of his instrument. His discography includes tributes to the bandura’s deep tradition (“Black Sea Winds”, “Songs of Truth”), innovative ensemble recordings (“Experimental Bandura Trio”), World Music collaborations (“Wu Man and Friends”), a duo with Free Improvisation master Derek Bailey, electroacoustic projects, and a recent recording of his own solo instrumental music (“Nights in Banduristan”). He has worked cross-culturally with such artists as Chinese pipa player Wu Man, klezmer revivalist Michael Alpert, and Mongolian master musician Battuvshin. Julian Kytasty has composed music for theater, modern dance, and film, including an award-winning film score for the National Film Board of Canada’s feature documentary, “My Mother’s Village.” His work on Yara Arts Group’s “1917-2017” earned two New York Innovative Theatre Awards, for Best Original Score and Best Musical. In 1989-90 Julian Kytasty first toured Ukraine, performing over 100 concerts as a soloist and with a bandura ensemble. He has returned many times since, performing all over the country, as a solo artist, in Yara Arts Group theater projects, and in collaborations with Ukrainian artists. In September 2021, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded Julian Kytasty the title “Honoured Artist of Ukraine” in a ceremony in New York City. This concert is brought to you in collaboration with the Library of Congress and the Ukrainian Museum in New York City. For transcript and more information, visit https://www.loc.gov/item/webcast-10689

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