World-renowned Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, the author of dozens of famous compositions across a wide variety of genres, has died in Kyiv on June 1. He was 81.

The cause of death was not disclosed.

“Today, a genius composer, the Moses of Ukrainian music, Myroslav Skoryk, has passed away. Unimaginable pain and a great loss for Ukraine and the whole world!” Skoryk’s daughter, Solomiya Skoryk, wrote in a Facebook post. 

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Skoryk was born in 1938 in Lviv, a city some 540 kilometers west of Kyiv, and grew up in a family of teachers. He showed a taste for music from childhood. 

Solomiya Krushelnytska, his great aunt and one of the brightest opera stars of the 20th century, first noted Skoryk’s perfect ear and recommended his parents send him to music school. 

Years later, Skoryk dedicated the music for the ballet “Butterfly’s Comeback” to Krushelnytska. 

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In 1947, Skoryk’s family was deported to Siberia, where he first learned to play the piano. After Josef Stalin’s death in 1953, the family managed to return to Lviv. 

Skoryk studied at the Lviv Conservatory and later at the Moscow Conservatory. He worked at conservatories in Lviv and Kyiv, and in the 1990s lived for years in the U.S. and Australia. But near the end of that decade, he returned to Ukraine. 

Skoryk has created music for over 40 films and several ballets. He has also composed chamber and instrumental works and scores for pop, jazz and rock songs. Many of Skoryk’s masterpieces have become modern classics. His lyrical “Melody” is often referred to as the “spiritual anthem of Ukraine”. 

Skoryk’s opera “Moses” was even blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ukraine in 2001. It was the first time in the history of independent Ukraine that the Vatican had supported a secular project and donated money to it.

Nowadays, music written by Skoryk is well-known around the globe. The composer himself performed as a conductor and a pianist with many famous orchestras. He was also artistic director of the Taras Shevchenko National Opera of Ukraine in Kyiv.

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Skoryk won many awards, including the People’s Artist of Ukraine and Hero of Ukraine.

On Aug. 24, 2019, Skoryk, together with young Ukrainian rapper Alina Pash and well-known singer Tina Karol, performed Ukraine’s national anthem during the celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day in Kyiv.

“An outstanding artist and a sincere, reliable friend, Myroslav Skoryk, has passed away,” Anatoliy Solovyanenko, the director at the Taras Shevchenko National Opera of Ukraine, wrote in a Facebook post on June 1.

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