UKRAINIAN DNIPRO ENSEMBLE OF EDMONTON
Dnipro Ukrainian Choir has a rich history spanning sixty-five years. In 1953, the late Roman Soltykewych and a group of fellow devotees of Ukrainian choral music founded the Dnipro Ukrainian Male Chorus. In 1971, Dnipro became a mixed choir. As conductor of Dnipro Choir, Soltykewych made an important and distinctive contribution to the development and retention of the Ukrainian choral tradition in Canada. At his untimely death in 1976, Maria Dytyniak assumed the baton. In collaboration with former conductor and artistic director of the Kyiv State Opera and Ballet Theatre, the late Maestro Wolodymyr Kolesnyk, Dytyniak led the choir on an increasingly ambitious course, which included oratorios and the staging of full-scale operas, international tours, and numerous collaborative performances with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
In 2011, Irena Szmihelsky became Dnipro’s third artistic director and has continued to maintain the choral calibre established by her predecessors. Under her direction, the Ukrainian Dnipro Ensemble of Edmonton has entertained audiences with its diverse programs of rich Ukrainian repertoire and culture. Among them, “Musical Kaleidescope” featuring works of Ukrainian Canadian composers (Sergei Eremenko, Yuri Fiala, Roman Hurko, Oleksander Koshets, Larysa Kuzmenko, Zenoby Lawryshyn, Denise Lucyshyn, Joanna Estelle-Storoschuk, Will Zwozdesky); Spokonvichni Luny – premiere of the commissioned choral-instrumental work by Andriy Talpash of Edmonton; Vechornytsi – interactive musical dinner theatre; Kupalo Café – music and rituals related to the summer solstice. In 2018, the Ukrainian Dnipro Ensemble of Edmonton was proud to mark its 65 th anniversary with a concert tour to Ukraine.