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Between two worlds

The third Oleh Krysa International Violin Competition was the first in its short history to honour Ukrainian musicians with top awards. Tom Stewart reports on an event doing its best to highlight Ukraine’s musical pedigree

Although the line that separates Ukraine culturally, geographically and politically from its larger neighbour is not always easy to trace, it may come as a surprise (it did to me) that many titans of the ‘Russian’ school of violin playing – Nathan Milstein, David Oistrakh and Leonid Kogan among them – were born in what we know today as Ukraine. Oleh Krysa is another Ukrainian violinist, and one determined to see his country’s cultural achievements given the credit they deserve. A student of Oistrakh, Krysa has taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, since 1989 and gives his name to the triennial Oleh Krysa International Violin Competition, which began in 2013. He also chairs its jury. In October I travelled to Lviv, close to Ukraine’s border with Poland, to meet him and to hear the six finalists perform in the 2019 edition.

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About The Strad

In a French-themed issue, the Ébène Quartet discuss their huge Beethoven project and we examine the early violins of J.B. Vuillaume. There’s a look at Michel Colichon and Nicolas Lupot, and Jean-Luc Ponty gives his Sentimental Work. Plus a Masterclass on Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata.