17-year-old violinist Bohdan Luts makes his debut on Golka Records

Богдан Луц

The independent Ukrainian label Golka Records has released the digital version of the two sonata pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach for Violin Solo No.1, BWV 1001, and No.2, BWV 1003, which were performed by Bohdan Luts. He is a 17-year-old violinist who won Carl Nielsen International Competition this year. The records are available on the leading streaming platforms: Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music. Ksenia Bundziak has had a great conversation with Bohdan Luts. He told her about the peculiarities of the performance of Bach’s music and his fulfilling creative life.

First, the performer must bring the idea through himself before translating all the thoughts to the audience. That’s why he obviously adds something unique and personal to the piece. In your opinion, what is the best proportion of the original and added?

Bohdan Luts: The genius music lives its own life. It doesn’t need any additional thoughts. Mainly, the most challenging thing concerning Bach is that you don’t need to add anything. That’s simple. But we always tend to look for some explanation that is more complicated than the music itself.

If to talk about the contest, the best performance of Bach is “the simplest” one. Indeed, there are different versions, touches, performers, and styles. One can play in Barocco style — the other might have a more romantic mood. To my mind, the best Bach sounds without any personality added.

Some performers play such a piece to demonstrate themselves in music, instead of just playing Bach. In his work, everything has already been mentioned. The main thing is not to add, but to understand what was written and to reproduce it.

On the one hand, it is easy to perform the “canonic” pieces because one has a lot of knowledge, performances, interpretations, and rules for its implementation. On the other hand, such works are of a high standard. The whole musical world knows how they should be presented. Because there are plenty of recordings made by outstanding performers. Do you feel the model pressure while performing or recording such composers as Bach?

Bohdan Luts: As for me – I don’t feel it. Everyone has his own vision. I never try to copy someone’s idea or to perform as one does. I am trying not to think about the audience’s judgment, so I don’t feel pressure at all. Even not mentioning the composer himself. There is a wide range of records. It doesn’t matter if they are from the past or the latest ones. But the interpretation will always be different.

It all depends on how much the person is dedicated to the music. If this person always tries to become more skilled and is making progress, or is just going the opposite way. To what extent is this person “live”? Because if the person is alive and has his or her own vision and interests, the pressure of the previous performances won’t be felt.

Do you have some vivid memories or performances which were remarkable for you? Could you, please, name them?

Bohdan Luts: I remember in detail my last performance in Lviv. I played “Caprice”, written by Paganini, with a curtain call despite having a pretty high temperature (38.4C). That was a great piece, and I put all my last emotions into it. I slept for 18 hours after the concert. But that was a really unforgettable performance, such an emotional outburst!

Also, the concerts from my childhood remain in my memory. I was preparing for them with my mother. I can describe them as a separate universe. One where I was working with her and the other where I did my best alone. As to the second, all the responsibilities lie on you. It’s on your own, each movement, each step; how much time have you dedicated to your work, or haven’t you done it at all.

The quality of my rehearsals was also on my own. You can just stand for 6 hours in a row and do nothing. It happens that the person drives himself into a deadlock. The brain understands that the work is being done. But in fact, it’s not. You can stand even for 13 hours in a row with an instrument, but you will just worsen the situation. Because hands will remember everything.

Bohdan Luts
Bohdan Luts

Bohdan Luts

Bohdan Luts has studied at Kyiv State Music Lyceum named after Mykola Lysenko (The class of Olha Korinets) and at Lviv State Music Lyceum named after Solomiya ​​Krushelnytska (The class of Maria Futorska). Currently, he is a student at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland (The class of professor Oleg Kaskiv).

He is the winner of international contests in Denmark, Italy, Poland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.

He has performed together with ‎Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Kosice), the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra, “Lviv Virtuosos” Chamber Orchestra, “INSO-Lviv” Symphony Orchestra, The National Ensemble of soloists Kyivska Camerata and “Trembita” Chamber Orchestra.

Golka Records

Golka Records is an independent music label that cooperates with contemporary composers and performers who work in jazz, ethnic, classical, or electronic music.

Art director and Curator of the project – Olha Lozynska

The record was made by soundman-acoustic – Ivan Ogar

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About the Author

The Claquers is a Ukrainian online magazine devoted to classical music that unites a group of music critics with the mission to foster a critical conversation about art music in Ukraine and beyond. The Claquers organization was founded in June 2020 by musicologist Stas Nevmerzhytskyi and three colleagues: musicologist Dzvenyslava Safian, music theorist Liza Sirenko, and cultural critic Oleksandr Ostrovskyi.

The publication’s provocative name suggests the context in which The Claquers was conceived. After two previous generations of proactive critics who had careers in education and cultural promotion, classical music criticism was limited to either positive reviews or no reviews at all. A fresh and uncensored eye on events in classical music life in Ukraine was needed to shake up the musical community and complete the country’s classical music ecosystem.

Unlike in western Europe and North America, art music audiences in Ukraine are much younger. The collective of writers with The Claquers is also young, and has taken on the task of explaining to these new listeners why a long tradition of classical music in Ukraine exists, and how it became a part of today’s cultural life. As a group The Claquers considers its main goals: to educate about contemporary classical Ukrainian music, to build bridges with popular culture by publishing about diverse musical genres and other arts (such as music in literature or in film), to expand the critical tools of music criticism with audio podcasts, and to cultivate audiences abroad via an English version of the website.

The Claquers was made possible by generous funding that enabled its establishment and is sustained by the generosity of donors on Patreon. This singular and engaged Ukrainian online hub devoted to classical music continues to engage people in this music and invite new authors.

Stas Nevmerzhytskyi (ФОП Станіслав Невмержицький), individual proprietor

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Location of a individual proprietor:
Ukraine, 04212, Kyiv city, TYMOSHENKA STREET, building 2K, room 302

Date and number of entry in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, individual proprietor and public organizations:
10/16/2020, 2000690010002052048


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