«Elton John’s concert was attended by nine thousands, ours – by seven»
«Uriadovyi Courier» («Government Courier»),12 June 2010


Vladimir Sheiko was taught by outstanding maestros: opera and symphonic conducting by Stefan Turchak, choir conducting by Levko Venediktov, he was a trainee under supervision of Fuat Mansurov in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. In 1990 he founded the first non-state symphony orchestra “Ukraine” in country and successfully toured with it all over the world.

Since Vladimir Sheiko became its conductor in August 2005, Ukrainian Radio Symphony Orchestra visited 10 European and Asian countries in its first tour after 6-year hiatus. Orchestra performed in many world-famous venues, such as Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Coliseu dos Recreios (Lisbon, Potugal), Palau de la Música (Barcelona, Spain); collective was the first Ukrainian orchestra performed in Philharmonie Luxembourg. One of Symphony Orchestra’s concert programs contains 7 colossal works: “Requiem” by W. A. Mozart, G. Verdi's “Requiem” and “La Traviata”, N. Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade”, “Bolero” by M. Ravel, L. van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and C. Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. Performance of the two latter works in one concert was a completely new experience for the audience.

Vladimir, I still remember concert of friendship Korea-Ukraine, which took place in the Ukrainian House in late May, when you conducted Ukrainian Radio Symphony Orchestra with South-Korean musicians. Mutual symphonic understanding on the stage between people, who don’t know native language of each other, is incredible, perhaps most beautiful and most harmonic. Such a beautiful everlasting classic hits …

I discovered high-class artists from South Korea, well-known all over the world. I’m sure 17 years old Kim Yun-Hi, who since she was 4, was the youngest student of Music University in Vienne, and later performed together with famous symphonic orchestras of many countries. CNN knowingly named her a truly genius violinist…

I wonder what the perception of classical music in South Korea?”

In South Korea almost in every skyscraper has a beautiful Symphony Hall. In markets or airports sounds music of Mozart. Everyone is smiling…

We toured in Spain six times, and performed in the prestigious halls of big cities. But once we got to the town as small as Mirgorod, with population of 30-40 thousands. There is super modern concert complex with two symphonic halls. Hold on to your seat: one is for 800 visitors and the other one is for 1500 visitors. In Zaragoza, where about 300 thousand people are living, there is a Hall, which is one of the most famous in a country. When at 11:30 a.m. several thousand citizens of Zaragoza came there to hear Verdi’s “Requiem”, it was unbelievable… Spaniards are very educated, even when compared with other Europeans. They go on concerts with their kids.

In Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid maximum four concerts a day take place, three – usually, two – very often. The Orchestra of Berlin Philharmonic played just before us.

We had constant sold-outs in halls for 2-2.5 thousands visitors in Madrid and Barcelona. In Madrid apart from “Bravo!” we heard “Molodtsi!”. That was from Ukrainians who work in Spain, who applauded and they came up to us after the end of the concert. After the show people were thanking us in the streets as well.

In 2008, on the way from Barcelona to Madrid, we were told that VIP guests will come to listen to us. It turned out, that Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain will come to listen Mozart’s “Requiem” and Symphony №40.

Many Ukrainians think of classic music as something very difficult or even boring. It is said, that for its perception it is necessary to prepare since childhood. Because later, they say, nothing can be done…

It's not all hopeless. They probably should start with Strauss. With his music they’ll never get bored. The more we play his works, the more we discover miracles there. In Polka “Auf der Jagd!” (“ On Hunting!”) I fire the gun; also we’ve got hunter’s hat and a cock, emerging from it…

…We were the first European orchestra that visited Iran for the last 30 years. Iranians immediately presented to our women-musicians quiet elegant black costumes “chadors”, made of natural cloth, elegant frock coats and pants. It’s 50 degrees centigrade outdoors, but in those costumes it was not hot at all.

All Iranian women were wearing veils, sitting along with their husbands on our concerts in the Palace of Congresses in Tehran. On the streets these women are usually very restrained. But how they picked up from their seats, applauded to the works of Rimsky-Korsakov and Mykola Lysenko… For six days we’ve played there, in the hall for approximately 2800 visitors, the masterpieces of European classics and works of modern Iranian composers. The first time 2000 listeners came to our concert, and for the rest of tour there were more and more of them.

Among music halls abroad where you performed, were there some that were prominent among others? 

In 1990 I created the first in Ukraine non-state symphonic orchestra, and toured abroad with it for almost 150000 km. One of such concerts took place in 1995 on the Arena of Coliseum, built in the city of Nîmes in southern France in 1st century AD. There were three renovated sectors for 11 thousands of people. In July and in August they have big artistic projects there.

By the way, for the first time with our orchestra toured abroad as soloists now-famous singers Taras Shtonda and Mychailo Didyk. The day before our performance there was a show of Elton John, it was gathered by 9- thousands audience. We sold 3 thousand tickets. Later our concert was postponed on one hour, because of adding 4 thousand listeners, altogether it was 7 thousand people who were listening Ukrainian musicians playing Verdi’s “Requiem”.

It was in July. When we finished “Requiem” the hall was silent, not a single applause. And then suddenly 7 thousand people picked up from their seats with the incredible explosion of emotions! Such things as screams “Bravo!” and endless ovations are truly unforgettable.

Another concert shock for me was a first performance with Symphony Orchestra “Ukraine” in St. Petersburg, on Palace Square in the Hall of Capella House named after Glinka, which was built at the end of XIX century. Everything – walls, floor, ceiling and seats – is made of instrumental wood, reflects the sound and creates phenomenal acoustic. I was wondered, confused and impressed. It was not just a good sound; we were permeated by its waves. It was the unique occasion to perform in such a resonated Hall, where the sound pleasure is even physical.

And what is special about Ukrainian Radio Symphonic Orchestra, among other orchestras you have been conducted?

We are the only orchestra in Ukraine which is not only performing but also recording the works of modern Ukrainian composers and World classics in favor of the Fund of Radio, where they are kept for one, three years and often stored for half of a century or forever. For 80 years of our activity its more than 10 thousand symphonic pieces. If during the concert minor mistake could occur, on record it is not possible, all mistakes will be captured by microphone, musicians can’t hide from it. It’s a difficult work with a lot of stress; the work must be captured once and for all.

Our Orchestra was created in 1929 and is constantly active since then. It is one of the oldest in Europe, and counting the time its working, it is the most respected in Ukraine. It makes music history.

Composers, while working with us on recording of their music, often say that we open to them aspects of their music, which they were never aware of. Such composers are Lesya Dychko, Levko Kolodub and many others we have worked with. For me it was a real discovery, because earlier I’ve only worked with classics and haven’t got a chance to talk to Tchaikovsky or Verdi… For example, music of Tatar composer Merzie Halitova is composed of non-standard for us rhythms, oriental mentality and a specific national color. We’ve performed her music in nomination on the Shevchenko Premium. And Merzie said: “You’ve played so united, I haven’t expected that”. And she invited us to do it once more in Simpheropol...