Wesleyan University to present film screening of "Music of Survival" on Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wesleyan University to present film screening of "Music of Survival" on Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wesleyan University presents
film screening of "Music of Survival"
Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 1:30pm
Event to include performance by bandurist Julian Kytasty,
conversation with director Orest Sushko

Middletown, Conn. — Wesleyan University presents a screening of the film "Music of Survival," including a conversation with the director Orest Sushko, and a performance by bandurist Julian Kytasty, on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 1:30pm in the Goldsmith Family Cinema of the College of Film and the Moving Image, located at 301 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown.

Focusing on the Ukrainian plucked string musical instrument the bandura, and the exiled Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, the event will begin with performance by bandurist, kobzar (bard), and composer Julian Kytasty, who has been described as "the finest representative of the kobzar tradition in the western hemisphere" (Early Music America), and represents a long lineage of bandurists. The performance will be followed by a screening of the film "Music of Survival," and a discussion with film director Orest Sushko. Please see below for a synopsis of the film, as well as more information about Mr. Kytasty and Mr. Sushko.

Mr. Kytasty previously performed at Wesleyan in Memorial Chapel during the premiere performance of the multimedia work "To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars" at the Fall Faculty Dance Concert by Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio in October 2014.

Admission to the film screening is $15 for the general public, and $5 for students. Tickets will be available starting on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 10am by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the screening, subject to availability. The box office accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University,” and all major credit cards. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.

This event is sponsored by Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts, the Departments of Dance and Music, the Center for Film Studies, and the Ukrainian Selfreliance New England Credit Union.
About "Music of Survival"
The story of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus is one of courage and true grit—a vivid chronicle that celebrates the human spirit. "Music of Survival" is the triumphant story of the original seventeen members of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus who survived World War II as a musical ensemble. The early chorus, and the musicians who played the instrument known as the bandura, had been systematically persecuted during the repression years in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of bandura players went missing and were executed in the 1930s. The chorus was nearly wiped out in the early days of WWII—but with a stroke of fate, seventeen men re-established the ensemble in Kyiv.

In short order, the chorus was forcibly transported out of Ukraine by the German occupying authorities, and incarcerated in a labor camp in Germany. In time, they were assigned to perform in all the Ostarbeiter slave labor camps across Germany. The chorus and their music brought hope to tens of thousands of Ostarbeiters displaced from Eastern Europe, many of whom were children. Their gift of music eventually carried them across the ocean to freedom in 1949. The chorus thrives to this day upon the foundation these artists forged for future generations.

The film brings out the deepest roots of a fragile tradition, celebrating the resiliency of a music culture that has survived centuries. The movie provides an educational, informative, and compelling perspective—the personal stories of the last two survivors intercut with the collective history of the bandura throughout the ages. Interwoven with contemporary musical performances from four of the top bandura performers today, the film illustrates the bandurist as bard, as seer, and as spiritual emissary for the soul of the Ukrainian people, then and now, in Ukraine and beyond.

For more information about the movie, please visit www.musicofsurvival.com.

About Julian Kytasty
Julian Kytasty  is an American composer, kobzar, performer, third-generation bandurist, and conductor of Ukrainian descent. His music combines a mastery of traditional styles with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. His first studies were in the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus in which his father, uncles, and grandfather played in and conducted before him. Based in New York, he has performed his music worldwide at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the steps of a village church in Brazil. His collaborators include Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, Mongolian master musician Battuvshin, performance poet Bob Holman, pioneering klezmer revivalist Michael Alpert, and electronic composer Alla Zagaykevych. As a composer, he has done work for theater, including Yara Arts Group's recent "Capt. John Smith Goes to Ukraine," "Dark Night Bright Stars," and "Underground Dreams." He won a Blizzard award for best original film score for "My Mother's Village" (National Film Board of Canada, 2002); and collaborated with Wesleyan University Associate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio on a series of dance works, including "To Not Forget Crimea: Uncertain Quiet of Indigenous Crimean Tatars" in October 2014. His most recent album, "Night Songs from a Neighboring Village: Ballads of the Ukrainian and Yiddish Village," with Michael Alpert, was released in November 2014 by Oriente Music.
About Orest Sushko
Orest Sushko is a member of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, following in the footsteps of his father Makar Sushko, the first Canadian member of the chorus in 1949—and grandfather Paul Stepowy, a bandura craftsman and honorary patron of the chorus. Orest Sushko’s work in film sound has garnered him an Emmy Award and two nominations, twelve Gemini nominations, a Genie award and three nominations, and a Cinema Audio Society Award. He is also the recipient of an International Monitor Award, numerous Motion Picture Sound Editor accreditations, and a Golden Sheaf award. He has worked with a broad range of acclaimed directors, including David Cronenberg and Guillermo Del Toro. Mr. Sushko produced and directed the documentary film "Music of Survival."