This week on Introductions, members of the Chicago area’s Ukrainian community perform music of their home country for piano, violin and voice. 18-year-old pianist Myroslav Mykhailenko is joined by young friends and colleagues with selections by five different Ukrainian composers.
Thank you to the Music Institute of Chicago for hosting us at Nichols Concert Hall.
Myroslav Mykhailenko, 18, piano
Myroslav Mykhailenko was until recently a Scholarship Fellow at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy, a training center for advanced pre-college musicians.
He was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and began playing piano at the age of 6. He studied at the Kyiv Lysenko State Music Lyceum, a high school for gifted musicians. When he was 13, he and his family immigrated to the United States of America, settling in Wood Dale, Illinois.
Upon his arrival in the US, he continued his piano studies and won numerous awards from Sejong, Walgreens, and Crain-Maling Young Artists music competitions. He has performed in masterclasses with Marian Hahn, Michael Brown, Shai Wosner, and Logan Skelton.
Myroslav gave a radio recital on Introductions in November 2019, and was featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight in May 2022. He has been accepted to the Peabody Conservatory where he will begin study with Benjamin Pasternack in the fall.
Julia Perekhozhuk, 13, violin
Julia Perekhozhuk started playing the violin at the age of 4½ with teacher Olga Karabinovych, and currently studies at the Music Institute of Chicago on a Merit Scholarship with Sang Mee Lee, where she also plays in the chamber music program. She is also in Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, currently a member of the CYSO Philharmonic Orchestra and previously concertmaster of the Debut and Concert Orchestras.
Julia has had significant competition success, this year winning an Honorable Mention at the DePaul Concerto Festival and First Place in the American Protégé International Music Competition. She is set to perform in Carnegie Hall next year. She has also taken multiple prizes in the Granquist Music Competition (2015-2019) and the Sejong Music Competition (2017); took second place in the Society of American Musicians Competition; twice won cash prizes at the Marta Kravtsiv-Barabash Ukrainian Music Festival in Toronto (2017 & 2020). Julia also took first place in the talent contest of the Ukrainian Diaspora in 2019.
Julia lives in Westchester, Illinois and is in 8th grade at The Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove. In her free time, Julia enjoys spending time with her older siblings; and likes drawing, singing and baking.
Nazarii Mykhailenko, 21, baritone
Born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nazarii Mykhailenko has been involved in music since the age of nine. He successfully joined the Kyiv Lysenko State Music Lyceum, where he studied a range of disciplines including music theory, piano, choral conducting and classical voice.
Immigrating to the United States in 2017, Nazarii quickly became highly involved in his high school’s music program. He won a place in the ILMEA All-State Choir in 2018 and participated in Chicago Master Singers Choir outside of school. He lives in Wood Dale, Illinois and is currently studying at Roosevelt University, pursuing a double major in Music Education and Classical Voice Performance with Mark Crayton.
Anna Knight, 18, piano
Anna Knight (formerly Anna Yurchenko) was born in 2004 in Ukraine. She started to play the piano at the age of 6, and from 2018 until 2022 she studied with Svetlana Zakharova and Natalia Balycheva at the Vladimir Krainev State Music Lyceum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. She received her Diploma, graduating cum laude in 2022 (marked an 11 on a scale of 12).
On February 24, 2022, Anna had to leave her country because the Russian army attacked her city. For two months she stayed with family friends in Frankfurt, Germany, and in May 2022, Anna moved to the United States. She is continuing her piano studies and lives in Highland Park, Illinois.