A series of 19 vocal music concerts and 2 exhibitions. Each performance was held at an unconventional location that related to the music through its design, history, or function. Creating a series of surreal audiovisual situations, Ukho sought to balance the complexity of new music with the immediate spatial experience, and to elaborate the vocal dimension of Kyiv's urban environment.
Architecture of Voice
(2014 – 2018)
focus on underappreciated Kyiv landmarks, Kyiv stadiums, and Kyiv water infrastructure.
THREE CYCLES
THE FIRST CYCLE
Lucia Ronchetti’s “Blumenstudien” by Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart at the Kyiv Botanical Garden’s greenhouse, Phil Minton’s extended techniques under fossilized skeletons at the Museum of Natural History, and so on. The variety of encompassed urban spaces corresponded to the diversity of vocal practices, introduced by the musicians.
THE FIRST CYCLE
(2014 – 2015)
VARIOUS LOCATIONS
11 CONCERTS
INFO
INFO
Programme:
Location:
Date:
Performers:
Ghedalia Tazartez
Mystetskyi Arsenal
28.09.2014
— — —
IRMOS Project. Hail: Chants to Mother of God
Kyiv Planetarium
31.10.2014
Natalia Polovynka, Word and Voice vocal ensemble
David Lang: The Little Girl Match Passion
Guillaume Dufay: Ave maris stella
Guillaume Dufay: Alma redemptoris mater
Guillaume Dufay: Mirandas parit haec urbs
Guillaume Dufay: Supremum est mortalibus
St. Cyril's Church
16.11.2014
L'Homme Armé
Ave Maris Stella
Victoria Poleva's choral works
Olympus Swimming Pool
14.12.2014
Nike choir featuring Two violins duet
New Italian Madrigal

Works by Claudio Ambrosini,
Alessandro Solbiati, Eric Maestri,
Stefano Gervasoni, Carlo Gesualdo,
and Claudio Monteverdi
Cinema Firenze
25.01.2015
La Dolce Maniera
Phil Minton, Audrey Chen
National Natural History Museum
07.02.2015
— — —
Broken Dishes

Works by Arvo Pärt, Paul Hindemith,
and Johannes Eccard; Gregorian chants
House of Architects
02.03.2015
Ars Nova Copenhagen & Paul Hillier
Boris Filanovskiy: Scomposiio
National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Film Centre
17.05.2015
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
Mauro Lanza: Disiecta Membra
Oscar Bianchi: Ante Litteram
Lucia Ronchetti: Blumenstudien
Evis Sammoutis: Sculpting Air
José María Sánchez-Verdú: Scriptvra Antiqva
Fomin Botanical Garden Greenhouse
02.03.2015
Ars Nova Copenhagen & Paul Hillier
A Walk with a Choir
European Square — Trukhaniv Island
07.06.2015
Alter Ratio
Valentyn Silvestrov: Quiet Songs
National Institute of Scientific, Technical, and Economic Information
26.06.2015
Natalia Polovynka, József Örmény
POSTER GALLERY
Ghedalia Tazartez
IRMOS Project. Hail: Chants to Mother of God
L'Homme Armé
Ave Maris Stella
New Italian Madrigal
Phil Minton, Audrey Chen
Broken Dishes
Boris Filanovskiy: Scomposiio
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
A Walk with a Choir
Valentyn Silvestrov: Quiet Songs
THE SECOND CYCLE
In particular, Ukho commissioned “Medea,” a butoh opera for five musicians (Audrey Chen, Henrik Norstebo, et al.) and forty butoh dancers; it was premiered in the parking lot of Olimpiyskiy stadium, overlooking enormous metals structures of its futuristic roof.

The Ukrainian premiere of Feldman’s “Rothko Chapel” took place at the Start stadium. In 1941, it had been converted into a PoW camp, and its prisoners were subsequently executed at Babyn Yar. This performance served as a temporary acoustic memorial: Feldman's father was a Jewish tailor from Kyiv.
The second cycle
(YEAR 2016)
3 CONCERTS
different stadiums and an epilogue performance in a baroque church that had been converted to a school gym in the ’60s.
INFO
INFO
Programme:
Location:
Date:
Performers:
Medea, butoh opera
Parking lot of Olimpiyskiy Stadium
12.06.2016
Phil Minton, Audrey Chen, Henrik
Munkeby Nørstebø, Thomas Rohrer,
Michael VorfeldChoreography by Flavia
Ghisalberti & Valentin Tszin, stage design
by Katya Libkind
Works by John Cage,
Robert Ashley, Kirill Chernegin,
Klaus Lang, Natailia Pshenichnikova,
Dieter Schnebel
Dynamo Stadium
14.06.2016
La Gol Voice Theatre & Natalia Pshenichnikova
Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel
Start Stadium
16.06.2016
Ukho Ensemble, Alter Ratio
Works by Luciano Berio, György Kurtág,
Konstantia Gourzi, Miklós Kocsár,
St. Dymytrii Rostovskyi Church
18.06.2016
Silvana Torto
POSTER GALLERY
Medea
La Gol Voice
Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel
Silvana Torto
THE THIRD CYCLE
The most concert-like performance took place at a rowing center: the stage was erected in the middle of the swimming pool, from where Hannah Silva and Tomomi Adachi presented their electroacoustic program “Pluto is a Planet.” A live concert of Ukho Ensemble, which played works by Mauro Lanza, Stefano Gervasoni, et al., was broadcasted to Kyiv’s nudist beach, where screens were set at the water’s edge.

“Nightingale,” a performance by Oleksiy Shmurak and Oleg Shpudeiko for voice, field recordings, and a modular synthesizer, was held at a Soviet spa complex. The visitors subsequently took therapeutic mud baths, listening to audio installations. Apart from music performances, the third cycle included a solo exhibition of Daria Kuzmich, a video installation by Katya Buchatska about extracting silver from film copies at Soviet film duplication facilities, and an ASMR conference on access to water.
The third cycle
(YEAR 2018)
6 EVENTS
Focused on Kyiv water infrastructure
INFO
INFO
Programme:
Location:
Date:
Performers:
Pluto is a planet!
Kyiv Rowing Centre
21.06.2018
Tomomi Adachi, Hannah Silva
MARE
Works by Mauro Lanza,
Stefano Gervasoni, Fausto Romitelli,
Luca Antignani, Luca Francesconi
Nudist beach at Trukhaniv Island
22.06.2018
Ukho Ensemble, Alter Ratio, Cecile Grange
Nightingale
Concert with water procedures
Kyiv Balneary
23.06.2018
Olexiy Shmurak, Oleg Shpudeiko featuring Vira Marchenko
Evacuation Map of the City Body
Exhibition by Daria Kuzmich
Plivka Art Centre
20.06.2018
— — —
Lethe
Video installation by Kateryna Buchatska
Plivka Art Centre
20.06.2018
— — —
Access to Water
ASMR conference
Plivka Art Centre
20.06.2018
— — —
POSTER GALLERY
Pluto is a planet!
Mare
Nightingale
Evacuation Map of the City Body 
Lethe
Access to Water
WHY UKHO:
CONTACT:
ukho.music@gmail.com
Kyiv, Ukraine
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Ukho Music Agency is a Kyiv-based curatorial agency specializing in contemporary classical, improvised, and experimental music. Since its inception in 2012, the agency has presented over 700 pieces of contemporary music, the vast majority being either Ukrainian or world premieres, staged three operas, created a new music ensemble, and produced four records. Ukho frequently complements music performances with media art and installations, holds concerts at unconditional locations, and provides elaborate narrative framing of its programmes. Its interdisciplinary approach to contemporary classical music performances attracts diverse audiences and reliably results in a large attendance of 200–500 people per concert.

(read more)
WHY UKHO:
Ukho Music Agency is a Kyiv-based curatorial agency specializing in contemporary classical, improvised, and experimental music. Since its inception in 2012, the agency has presented over 700 pieces of contemporary music, the vast majority being either Ukrainian or world premieres, staged three operas, created a new music ensemble, and produced four records. Ukho frequently complements music performances with media art and installations, holds concerts at unconditional locations, and provides elaborate narrative framing of its programmes. Its interdisciplinary approach to contemporary classical music performances attracts diverse audiences and reliably results in a large attendance of 200–500 people per concert.

Vision and early projects
Ukho was founded by Sasha Andrusyk and Eugene Shimalsky as a small not-for-profit organization to present contemporary classical music which couldn’t have been heard in Kyiv before, and to remark on non-musical subjects—memory, madness, dreams, literary texts—via programming and collaborating with artists from other disciplines. From the get-go, the agency was envisioned as an urban project which comments on Kyiv’s symbolic dimension and treats the performance setting as part of the music experience. Although Ukho isn’t interested in strictly formalist works, it is committed to renewing and diversifying the practice of listening, so the performances aren’t meant to be necessarily pleasant or easily digestible. Challenging the notion that contemporary art music requires compulsory training to be understood the only “proper” way, the agency seeks to create unconventional performances that can be appreciated, even if for different reasons, by academics and non-academics alike.

Having no state or municipal funding, Ukho started off by collaborating with larger organizations, such as Book Arsenal and Gogolfest, but quickly became one of Ukraine’s key advocates of new music through corporate and private donors’ support. From 2012 to 2015, Ukho held annual Festivals of New Music, bringing numerous renowned collectives, such as Kronos Quartet and Apartment house, to Kyiv for the first time, and filled the gaps in Ukrainian performing tradition presenting essential works by Feldman, Reich, Berio, Scelsi et al., while New Music: Ukraine concert series was dedicated to the underrepresented composers of the Kyiv avant-garde.


Architecture of Voice
In 2014–2018, Ukho produced Architecture of Voice—a series of 19 vocal music concerts and 2 exhibitions. Each performance was held at an unorthodox location, the design, history, or function of which was connected, thematically or symbolically, to the music being performed. Creating a series of surreal audiovisual situations, Ukho sought to balance the complexity of new music with the immediacy of bodily and spatial experience, which came to be the key to understanding it, and to elaborate on the vocal dimension of Kyiv's urban environment.

Architecture of Voice consists of three cycles which focus on underappreciated Kyiv landmarks, Kyiv stadiums, and Kyiv water infrastructure. The first cycle (2014–2015) comprised 11 concerts at various locations: Lucia Ronchetti’s “Blumenstudien” by Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart at the Kyiv Botanical Garden’s greenhouse, Phil Minton’s extended vocal techniques among ancient animals’ skeletons at the Museum of Paleontology, and so on. The concerts were not thematically connected, and the variety of encompassed urban spaces corresponded to the multiplicity of radical vocal practices of newly brought to Ukraine musicians.

The second cycle (2016) included three concerts at different stadiums and an epilogue performance in a baroque church which was converted to a school gym in the ’60s. In particular, Ukho commissioned “Medea,” a butoh opera for five musicians (Audrey Chen, Henrik Norstebo et al.) and forty butoh dancers; it was premiered in the parking lot of Olimpiyskiy stadium, overlooking enormous metals structures of its futuristic roof. The Ukrainian premiere of Feldman’s “Rotho Chapel” took place at the Start stadium: it was converted into a PoW camp in 1941, and its prisoners were later executed in Babyn Yar. This performance served as a temporary acoustic memorial—Feldman's father was a Jewish tailor from Kyiv.

The third cycle (2018) of Architecture of Voice focused on Kyiv water infrastructure and encompassed six events. The most concert-like performance took place at a rowing sports center: the stage was erected in the middle of a swimming pool, from where Hannah Silva and Tomomi Adachi, who worked with an amateur choir, presented their electroacoustic program “Pluto is a Planet.” A live concert of Ukho Ensemble, which played works by Mauro Lanza, Stefano Gervasoni et al., was broadcasted to Kyiv’s nudist beach, where screens were set at the water’s edge. “Nightingale,” a performance by Oleksiy Shmurak and Oleg Shpudeiko for voice, field recordings, and a modular synthesizer was held at a Soviet spa complex; the visitors subsequently took therapeutic mud baths listening to audio installations. Apart from three music performances, the third cycle included a solo exhibition of Daria Kuzmich, a video installation by Katya Buchatska which addressed the practice of washing away silver from film copies at Soviet and post-Soviet film copying facilities, and an ASMR conference on access to water.

Ukho Ensemble
In 2015, Ukho became a permanent resident at Plivka Art Center. It enabled the agency to arrange large productions, such as “Medea,” to create elaborate visual supplements for its concerts in collaboration with architects, light and media artists, and to establish its own new music ensemble. Ukho Ensemble, co-founded with Italian conductor Luigi Gaggero. The ensemble unites fifteen] Ukrainian soloists, selected upon open call, joined by the American Rachel Koblyakov as concertmaster. Recreating the utopia of sixty rehearsal hours for every concert, Ukho Ensemble prepares its programs with the greatest accuracy. Instead of a widespread structuralist approach to contemporary music, the ensemble privileges a phenomenological one: its interpretations are guided by the experience of the empathic encounter between the interpreter, composition, and audience. This attitude resulted in colorful readings of more than 120 works of distinguished 20th-century composers (Messiaen, Ligeti, Xenakis, Kurtag, Silvestrov et al.) and prominent contemporaries (Ambrosini, Gervasoni, Naon, Andreyev et al.). Ukho Ensemble’s performances comprise thematic series, and each concert has a unique stage and lighting design; several performances were accompanied by art installations in rooms, adjacent to the concert hall. However, the visual part is never conceived as a direct commentary to the music. Instead, it usually serves as a means of subverting the expectations that visitors familiar with the programme may have, or creates a mood that encourages attention to specific features of the music.

In 2018–2020, the agency has produced four Ukho Ensemble records: Stefano Gervasoni: Pas Perdu (Winter&Winter, 2018), Toshio Hosokawa: Gardens (Kairos, 2019), Alessandro Solbiati: INSIEME (EMA Vinci, 2019), and Samuel Andreyev: Iridescent Notation (Kairos, 2020). The recordings were favorably mentioned by Le Monde, The Times, Diapason, Neue Musikzeitung, and others. In 2020, Gardens received a Charles Cros Academy Award.

Operas
The ensemble’s proficiency in the new music language was instrumental to Ukho Agency’s productions for the National Opera of Ukraine, dubbed historic as the first contemporary operas in decades to be put on the stage of Ukraine’s capital theater. In 2016–2018, Ukho staged a cycle of three operas with the international cast: Limbus-Limbo by Stefano Gervasoni (2016), Pane. Sale. Sabbia by Carmine Cella (2017; commissioned by Ukho Agency) and Luci mie traditrici by Salvatore Sciarrino (2018). Three operas of contemporary Italian composers were intended to renew the operatic experience in Ukraine, since Ukrainian operatic tradition is still grounded in “classical” tropes of Verdi’s, Puccini’s, and Rossini’s works. The stage designs of Ukho’s operas were created by Ukrainian sculptors, media artists, and fashion designers under the supervision of Ukho’s curators (Sasha Andrusyk and Kateryna Libkind as stage designer), who endeavored to employ contemporary art language to reimagine the interplay of different art branches in opera as a form of theater.

[will be extended with individual opera descriptions]


Impact
Ukho Agency’s output was covered by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Guardian, Voce Classico, as well as by the majority of key Ukrainian media outlets (Lb.ua, Pravda.com.ua, Hromadske, NV.ua, Vogue Ukraine, etc.) and is viewed by many as Ukraine’s driving force in contemporary art music. Apart from empowering Ukrainian musicians and composers, who develop their skills in contemporary music through Ukho’s support, and receive regular commissions from Ukho Ensemble, one of the agency’s priorities is to bridge the gap between the high-brow and the underground music communities. At its concerts in Kyiv which attract several hundreds of attendees, conservatoire mastodons often sit next to DJs and street artists, while some architects and VJs who collaborate with Ukho can be also found teaming up with Kyiv’s biggest raves’ promoters. However, Ukho is no stranger to established educational strategies: in 2016–2018, it held annual master classes for young conductors and composers, where young talents from Europe and the Americas honed their skills under the supervision of Stefano Gervasoni, Samuel Andreyev, Luis Naon, and Luigi Gaggero. Select composers subsequently received commissions, and in 2019, Leonardo Marino’s “L’artificio del fuoco” was premiered by the Ukho Ensemble.