Kobzaring the New World - musical performance and talk
Wednesday, 17 MAY • 2017, at 7:00 PM
Ukrainian Institute of America 2 E 79th St, New York, NY
Join us for the presentation of the traditional Ukrainian torban, kobza and bandura by the American-Ukrainian kobzar Jurij Fedynskyj. Jurij will give a talk on the history and development of these once beloved national instruments and demonstrate the traditional repertoire performed on the torban, kobza, and bandura. General Admission $15 UIA Members free Jurij Fedunskyj is originally from North Carolina and lives in Ukraine now, where he teaches the construction and playing of traditional Ukrainian stringed instruments in a small village in the Poltava region. He is one of a handful of makers who create professional-quality instruments based on historical examples in Ukrainian museums, and is the only player who regularly performs on all three instruments. The banduras which most of us have heard in modern times, are generally considered "traditional folk instuments". But, what most don't realize, is that this idea is largely a myth. The fully chromatic bandura, complete with modulating mechanisms and sixty steel, high tension strings is a modern instrument, designed to play not traditional, folk music, but rather modern arrangements and compositions, even though usually based on traditional folk melodies. The truly traditional, folk instrument known as the bandura has been forgotten for around one hundred years. As a result of modern progress, noisy streets, and of course, as usually the case, Soviet cultural repression; Ukrainians in the twentieth, and now twenty first centuries have been deprived of knowledge of the original bandura. That instrument was in fact very light and compact, had wooden pegs with about 20 diatonic, gut strings, and was tuned to a specific traditional tuning. Not only was the traditional bandura lost, but also several related instruments, once known and loved by Ukrainians, namely the kobza, and torban. They were almost completely erased from the national conscious.
Ukrainian Institute of America

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Since 1955, the Fletcher-Sinclair mansion at 2 East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue has been home to the Ukrainian Institute of America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. The Institute serves both a center for the Ukrainian-American community and as America’s “Window on Ukraine” hosting art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, poetry readings, literary evenings, children’s programs, lectures, symposia and full educational programs, all open to the public. In 1897 the banker, broker and railroad investor Isaac D. Fletcher (1844-1917) commissioned the architect Charles P.H. Gilbert to design a new house. Gilbert designed over 100 large houses in New York City during a career that spanned from the 1880s to the 1920s. As a C.P.H. Gilbert house, the mansion was given a second life as home to the Ukrainian Institute of America. The Fletcher-Sinclair mansion is protected as a contributing element of the Metropolitan Museum Historic District and in 1977 was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

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