Address: 2, Vladimirsky Spuck Str., Kiev
Phone: +38044 278 16 97
The history of concerto seasons of the National Philharmonic Society started in 1863, when the Kyiv Emperor's Russian Musical Society was founded. But Kyiv musical life was rapidly developing from the beginning of the XIX century: famous "Contracts" was being visited by Ferenc Liszt, Polish performers Wieniawski. Still, actually there was no philharmonic stage in Kyiv for a long time
In 1881 Kyiv merchant assembly council of elders received the permission of Kyiv municipal Duma to build the assembly building. After a year it was built in the crest part of the Volodymyrskiy (the then Olexandrivskyi ) slope at the beginning of Khreshchatyk street on the Europeiska Square by the famous Kyiv architect Volodymyr Nikolayev.
From the very first day Merchant Assembly was a success with the townspeople. Theatrical performances, concerts, masquerades, charity lotteries, literary and musical evenings, and many other entertaining activities were held here. And certainly, many Ukrainian and foreign actors and singers made their performances. They had a reason to come here, because Volodymyr Nikolayev was not only a talented architect, but also a good musician (later he became a member of Board of directors of Kyiv musical society). He succeeded to project a columnar hall with magnificent acoustics.
One of the best periods in history of the Philharmonic Society building is related to the name of the great Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko(1842-1912). He was the founder of the Ukrainian professional musical culture, and had a hand in creation of Emperor's Musical Society, Literature-artistic Association, Philharmonic society of bayan-players, Kyiv Ukrainian club and many other cultural institutions which had a great influence on development of the Ukrainian culture and education. For a period Mykola Lysenko being the "main musician of Kyiv” Merchant Assembly became exactly the Philharmonic Society: at the beginning of ХХ century it was a priority ground for the performances of orchestras and singers, the main concerto hall of Kyiv.
In spite of tragic chain of wars and revolutions in 1914-20th musical life of Kyiv was never ceased. Kyiv several times became the city of the Ukrainian and Russian musical elite. Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Scriabin, Antonina Nezhdanova, Leonid Sobinow, Feodor Chaliapin were performing on the stage of the former Merchant Assembly.
Soviet rule, certainly, took the building from “the merchant masters” and turned it over to the “comrades-workers” - the Proletarian house of arts, the House of political education, the Club of bolshevists and the Republican palace of pioneers and student were situated here.
While former Merchant Assembly suffered these perturbations, State Philharmonic Society of Ukraine was founded in 1923. In 1927-1933 State Philharmonic Society was situated in Kharkiv which was the capital of the then Ukraine. But after Philharmonic society was moved to Kyiv, it had no own building and during a few years before the war the artistic group of the Philharmonic society arranged concerts in different theatres and clubs of Kyiv. In 1937 the State symphonic orchestra under the leadership of Natan Rakhlin began to work in the State Philharmonic Society.
In the years of World War II activity of the State Philharmonic Society came to stop, and invaluable archives were incinerated by retreating soviet troops. During the occupation period the German officer club was situated in this building. And only in 1944 the Philharmonic Society finally reclaimed the building of former Merchant Assembly, which was spared by the frightful destruction of Khreshchatyk by a miracle.
The Philarmonic Society hall of columns has a great history. The world-known artists Irina Arkhipova, Leonard Bernstein, Emil Gilels, Alexander Glazunov, Kurt Sanderling, Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr., Lev Kogan, Kirill Kondrashin, Sergei Lemeshev, Kurt Masur , Heinrich Neuhaus, David Oistrakh, Eugene Ormandy, Sviatoslav Richter, Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Mstislav Rostropovich, Anton Rubinstein, Titta Ruffo, Leonid Sobinov , Willy Ferrero, Aram Khachaturian, Carlo Zecchi: the outstanding cultural workers of Ukraine Zoya Gaidai, А. Glière, К. Dankevych, M. Lysenko, S. Lyudkevych, B. Lyatoshynskyi, G. Maiboroda, I. Patorzhynskyi, M. Rakhlin, L. Revutskyi, М. Rylskyi, К. Simeonov, S. Turchak, I. Shamo, A. Shtogarenko were performing here. Grygoriy Veryovka People's choir of Ukraine, Chapel of bandura player of Ukraine, famous M. Lysenko string quartet and Kyiv chamber orchestra appeared on the stage of the Philarmonic Society also came to its stage
In 1962, commemorating the 120th anniversary of the day of birth and the 50th anniversary of the day of death of M. Lysenko, Columnar hall of Kyiv State Philharmonic Society was given his name. For the 100th anniversary of construction of Merchant Assembly the status of monument of architecture was given to the building.
The 1980th were the hard times in history of the Philharmonic Society. There were several shocking accidents, the basements were flooded. The archives disappeared again and one of the best musical libraries of Kyiv was lost.
The building reconstruction continued for a great while because of the period of so-called “alteration” and subsequent “devastation”. None the less, all acoustic performance capability of the Columnar Hall were restored, it additionally was equipped with modern technical equipment, telecommunications system, light equipment. The restored Columnar Hall opened for the audience in December, 1996.
In October, 1994 the Philharmonic Society was given the National status. Today National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine presents the wide range of the various programs, including the complete season of symphonic and chamber orchestras concerts, quartets of guitarists and bayan-players, trio of bandura-players, chamber and folk ensembles of National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine.
Also Volodymyr Krainev competition of young pianists, Volodymyr Gorovits competition and other international competitions and festivals are being held under patronage of the Philharmonic Society.
Now the creative company of the Philharmonic Society consists of 19 People’s Artists, 32 Honoured Artist, 6 Honoured workers of arts, 5 Honoured workers of culture of Ukraine, many laureates of international and national competitions, 11 artistic groups which increase the glory of the Ukrainian national culture.