Lviv Philharmonic Returns to Grandeur
Volodymyr Syvohip (inset) has been in charge of Lviv’s Philharmonic Society Theatre since 2006 and has recently overseen extensive renovation of the venue as part of his ambitious plans to help one of the great Lviv venues recapture its former glory. He remains best known to many in Lviv cultural circles as the man behind Lviv’s popular annual ‘Contrasts’ contemporary music festival. Volodymyr is celebrated as one of the most active figures on the Lviv cultural scene and currently splits his time between conducting the Lviv-based ‘Gloria’ chamber choir and working to bring his beloved Philharmonic up to a standard deserving of this venerable Lviv venue.
What can you tell us about the history of the Philharmonic in Lviv?
Lviv Philharmonic was always at the centre of the cultural universe, right from the very first cultural season in 1902-03. That first season came at a time when Lviv was known as Lemberg and served as a Habsburg regional capital and it featured almost 150 concerts over a one and a half year period. Lemberg soon developed a reputation as a prestigious place to perform and with thanks to the city’s ever improving rail links to imperial capitals and cultural hubs like Berlin, Vienna, Prague and Krakow the Lviv Philharmonic flourished. Within a year famous names like Strauss and Mahler had added their names to the growing Lviv legend.
How are your ambitious renovation plans for the venue progressing?
Since assuming responsibility for the Lviv Philharmonic in 2006 I have focused on trying to make the venue a more pleasant place to be for both audiences and musicians. I felt it was important to improve the conditions in which are very talented artists were being asked to perform. Last year began the first stage of what is planned to be a three-year renovation project which will dramatically improve the facilities on offer at the Philharmonic and will allow us to compete commercially in a twenty-first century marketplace. The first stage has already been completed and has allowed us to improve the stage and the main seating area. We have also redesigned the lobby area, added coffee shops and installed a modern heating system. The next stage will involve renovation and reconstruction of the balconies and second floor viewing areas. So far we have received a very positive response from guests. Many regular audience members have spoken of the comfort and coziness of the new seats and of the renovated concert hall in general. This comfort is exactly what we are looking to bring to the Lviv audience.
What are your cultural plans for the coming year?
As ever, we plan to be active promoting different types of classical and contemporary music to new audiences. The highlight of the spring season will be our Serenades of Spring concert, performed by the Lviv Virtuosos orchestra. We will also be hosting an extraordinary jazz improvisation session in April. Our involvement in the ‘Virtuosos’ and ‘Contrasts’ festivals allows us to appeal to a far wider and more diverse modern audience and is also part of our commitment to promoting cultural tourism to Lviv. Practically everyone today agrees that
Lviv’s remarkable cultural heritage is a result of the pre-Soviet flowering of Lviv’s intelligentsia.
Miraculously, this rich cultural inheritance has been preserved and helps to drive an incredible sense of creativity. Lviv is an incredibly multi-cultural, multi-genre city and this is what gives it its unique cultural and creative aura. We believe that the Lviv Philharmonic should reflect this aura and invite all Leopolitans and guests to the city to join us this spring!