UNLV professor returns to Ukraine to hold classical concerts

UNLV professor returns to Ukraine to hold classical concerts
UNLV professor returns to Ukraine to hold classical concerts(Taras Krysa)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:13 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - It has been more than six months now since the war in Ukraine began. Following it from the beginning, Taras Krysa, the Director of Orchestras at UNLV. FOX5 spoke to the professor and conductor the day Russian troops pushed into Ukraine while he was still in disbelief it actually happened. After traveling to the country, Krysa now he believes Ukrainian forces are finally starting to prevail.

“Show must go on no matter what,” said Krysa who was also the former Music Director of the Lviv Philharmonic in Ukraine.

Krysa was born in Ukraine to a Ukrainian father and Russian mother and still has family in Kyiv and Lviv. Krysa knows people who have died in the war and others who have fled the country.

“Members of my family have had to leave and seek shelter,” Krysa shared.

Many Ukrainians refuse to leave their homes.

“My uncle and my cousin they are both in Kyiv, musicians just like me... they go on with their lives the best they can given the circumstances,” explained Krysa.

This summer, Krysa traveled to the war-torn country to perform a series of concerts.

“Me and my father, who was also a musician, we were invited to do the series concerts and we were questioning whether it was safe to go until about 2-3 days before departure. I wasn’t sure we were doing the right thing,” Krysa confessed.

Krysa and his 80-year-old father made the 70-hour trip, taking nearly three full days with many transfers and stops to get there.

“Russian troops outnumber Ukrainian troops about 8 to 1 and Ukraine seems to be winning… I think what is most important is the high morale of Ukrainians and Ukrainian troops who are defending their homeland,” Krysa contended.

Krysa’s goal was to boost to that morale through music during the ongoing war.

“We were rehearsing, we heard the sirens. We were supposed to go into the shelter, but musicians said ‘no, we will just rehearse’ because you get used to it,” Krysa recalled.

The classical music concerts amid the war are signs of defiance and resilience -- the courage of the Ukrainian people inspiring.

“It is quite, quite impressive,” Krysa asserted.

Krysa hopes music can be uplifting and his small contribution to the devastating war.

“When they come to hear the concert, they leave everything behind... so if you can do that for the audience and for ourselves, our mission is accomplished,” Krysa contended.

Krysa thinks eventually Russian troops will leave Ukraine if weapons and funds continued to be supplied by foreign nations. Krysa does plan to go back to Ukraine in the spring.

Krysa will be conducting the Las Vegas Sinfonietta Sunday, September 18, 2022, at 3 p.m. at Clark County Library on Flamingo.