The Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra (National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine - Lviv) 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). It served as
an ideal venue for public performances, having 1240 seats, a large moving stage (160 m2), a
concert organ, was equipped with electric lighting, central heating, while added luxuries included
fountains, confectionery, cafeteria, restaurant and a greenhouse garden. The Principal Conductor of
the orchestra was Ludwik Vitezslav Czelianski (1870 – 1931), who gathered a highly professional
ensemble of 68 musicians, the majority of whom were graduates of Prague Conservatory. Henryk
Jarecki and Henryk Meltzer-Szczawinski worked alongside him as conductors of the orchestra.
During the first season, the orchestra performed nearly 115 concerts, 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. Strauss conducted the
orchestra on January 5, 1903 and under his baton were performed two of his own compositions,
the symphonic poems Don Juan and Death and Transfiguration, the Love Scene from the opera
Feuersnot, and the Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven. On April 2, 1903, the orchestra
was conducted by Mahler, the program consisting of the Seventh Symphony and Leonore Overture
No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Roman Carnival by Hector Berlioz, the Overture to
Tannhauser by Richard Wagner and Mahler’s First Symphony; the program was repeated at a
second concert April 4. On May 7 and 9, 1903 the orchestra was conducted by Leoncavallo, the
concerts including fragments from the operas Pagliacci and I Medici, the Neapolitan Suite, Ancient
Suite and the symphonic poem Seraphitus-Seraphita. After this brilliant season, the orchestra went
on tour to Krakow, Lodz, Warsaw and Vilnius, after which it ceased to exist. For many years, the
Lviv Philharmonic Society did not have its own orchestra. Its director Leopold Litynsky made an
attempt to create such a group from among the best musicians of the military orchestras of several
local infantry regiments, which continued the activities of the Philharmonic in 1903-1904.
In the following years, touring orchestras performed in Lviv, including Wiener Symphoniker,
Wiener Konzert-Verein, Wiener Tonkünstler-Orchester, Münchener Tonkünstler-Orchester, as well
as the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and others. Resounding
premieres also took place in the city. One of these was the Polish premiere of Ignatius Jan
Paderewski's Polonia Symphony (first performed on February 12, 1909 with the Boston Symphony
Orchestra conducted by Max Fiedler), which was performed in 1910 under the baton of Henryk
Opieński during the Congress of Polish Musicians, dedicated to the 100 th anniversary of the birth of
During 1919-1939, the Conservatory symphony orchestra of Halychyna Music Society remained
the only permanent orchestra in Lviv. On rare occasions, a symphony orchestra of the Polish Union
of Musicians, organized in 1921 and consisting of 106 instrumentalists, performed under the
auspices of the Lviv Philharmonic Society and M. Türk’s Concert Bureau (it united performersfrom the Society and the City Theater and operated until 1924). His programs were prepared by
Bronislaw Wolfstal, Adam Soltys, Alfred Stadler and Milan Zuna.
During this period, in particular in the concert season of 1931/1932, due to the economic crisis, the
musical departments of the City Theaters were disbanded. The musicians joined the orchestra of the
Society of Music and Opera Fans, starting their own concert activities with a series of symphony
concerts. The ensemble performed under the direction of Grzegorz Fitelberg, Mateusz Glinski,
Anton Rudnytsky, Jakub Mund, Jerzy Kolachkowski, Stefan Sledzinski, as well as guest conductors
- Kazimierz Wilkomirski, Tadeusz Mazurkiewicz, Hermann Sherhen, Ignatz Neumann, Tashi
Gorenstein. 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 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 - Anton Rubinstein, Ferruccio Busoni, Wanda
Landowska, Leopold Godowski, Jacob Milstein, Eugene Isai, Pablo Corvadam - Szymanowska and
With the advent of the Soviet regime, in December 1939, the Resolution of the Council of People's
Commissars of the USSR of December 19, 1939 on the organization of cultural and artistic
institutions in six newly formed western regions of Ukraine and the reorganization of art institutions
and educational institutions by the Soviet People's Commissar and the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Belarus, according to which it was envisaged to create in Lviv "a state regional
philharmonic with a symphony orchestra, a Ukrainian choir, a variety sector and soloists."
The symphony orchestra was formed at the Regional Radio Committee. The orchestra first
performed on December 20, 1939 under the baton of Isaac Pain, a 27-year-old conductor, a
graduate of Kyiv Conservatory. At the beginning of 1940, this orchestra was reorganized into the
symphony orchestra of the Lviv State Regional Philharmonic. It was headed 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 Paini, 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, the conductors were Roman Fylypchuk and Yarema Kolessa. Later this
position was held by Aidar Torybayev, Ilya Stupel, Taras Krysa.
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, Maria Yudina, Moisey Greenberg,
Dmytro Bashkirov, David and Ihor Oistrakh, Mstyslav Rostropovich, Yuriy Lysychenko, Mariya
Chaikovska, Viktoria Lukyanets, Gidon Kremer, Leonid Kohan, Natalia Gutman, Oleh Polyansky,
Dmytro Tkachenko, Roman Hrynkiv, Myroslava Kotorovych, Oleksandr Slobodyanyk, Bohodar
Kotorovych, Oleh Krysa, Olga Batystyuk, Lidia Shutko, Jozhef Ermin, Oksana Rapita, Etela
Author's concerts of Dmytro Kabalevsky, Krzysztof Penderecki, Andrzej Nikodemovich, Dmytro
Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke, 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 Kirill Kondrashin, Fuat Mansurov, Nathan Rakhlin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Reinhold
Gliere, Yevgeni Mravinsky, Nikolae Popescu, Kurt Masur, Saulius Sondeckis, Theodore Kuchar and
Mariss Jansons as well as Ukrainian conductors Stefan Turchak, Fedor Glushchenko, Igor
Blazhkov, Roman Kofman, Volodymyr Kozhukhar, Volodymyr Sirenko Viktor Ploskina, Yuriy
Yanko and Victoria Zhadko.
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.