A world-famous maestro from Radekhiv, Lviv region – Virko Balei

This man, Virko Balei, was born in Radekhiv, Lviv Oblast, a year before the outbreak of World War II, and today he is known on all continents of the world as a famous Ukrainian-American conductor, pianist, and composer.

Now he is overseas, but he is loved and appreciated here in Ukraine.

But first, a few words about how difficult it was for Virko Baley to achieve his success.

Let me start with the fact that during the war his family (he was the only son of Petro and Lidiia Baley, the native residents of Radekhiv) left for Slovakia, and from there to Minchen, and for more than two years (from 1947 to 1949) they lived in a camp for displaced persons in Regensburg. It was in that resettlement camp that Virko Baley began to learn the piano. His mother was particularly concerned about this, and she hired the famous Lviv pianist Roman Savytskyi to teach her son.

And, after six months of such training, young Virko (Viroslav) Baley awoke to his remarkable talent. Soon after, he graduated from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music (1962) and became a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In short, Virko Baley is incredibly talented. And what particularly impressed me about him is that he (Virko Baley) is not only not ashamed of his Ukrainianness, but also promotes Ukrainian music in the world as much as he can. He is best able to popularize in the United States and Western Europe the little-known works of twentieth-century Ukrainian composers.

Do you remember the film based on the script by Sergei Parajanov, Swan Lake. The Zone”, which won the Cannes Film Festival award…? Well, the music for this film was composed by our Galician Virko Baley (and he even became a producer of this film). He also composed the music for the well-known film by Yuriy Illienko, Prayer for Hetman Mazepa.

… And, in conclusion, I think that every Ukrainian who is in love with Ukrainian music and our cinema will sincerely wish our incomparable overseas maestro long life and inexhaustible inspiration in his work.

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