Roman Hurko is a Canadian of Ukrainian descent, born in Toronto, Canada
(1962). A graduate of the University of Toronto (Music History and Theory),
as well as the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (Masters of Arts in Religion),
he has also studied privately with composer Ivan Moody in Portugal.
A member of the Composers' Union of Ukraine since 2004, Roman began writing
music while still in high school. His first composition "Ave Maria" for SATB
choir was premiered by the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, at the Guelph
Spring Festival in 1983, with the composer conducting.
In the summers of 1983 and 1985 he attended choral conducting seminars led
by Maestro Volodymyr Kolesnyk, former director of the National Opera of
Ukraine. In the fall of 1985, he co-founded the St. Evtymyj Youth Choir at
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toronto. Roman soon began setting
parts of the liturgy for his choir, and in 1999 decided to complete and
record the entire Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom to
commemorate the second millenium of Christianity (Liturgy
In tandem with his compositional work, Roman worked in Opera Stage Direction
for many years. A former member of the Canadian Opera Company (COC)
ensemble, he worked as staff assistant director at the COC from 1988 - 93.
After freelancing as an assistant director in Europe and the US (Royal Opera
Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, De Nederlands Opera, Opera de Monte Carlo,
Teatro de la Zarzuela, The Washington Opera,) he made his stage directing
debut in 1996 at the Spoleto Festival (Italy) with Handel's
Also at Spoleto, he co-directed Prokofiev's
War and Peace
together with festival founder and composer, Gian Carlo Menotti. Most
recently, he directed Mozart's
The Flying Dutchman at the Vancouver Opera.
During this period he also composed the incidental music for two plays with
the Yara Arts Group at La Mama Experimental Theater Club in New York City:
A Light From the East (1991) and Explosions (1993).
Mr. Hurko has composed and recorded five major pieces of sacred music, three
complete settings of The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,
(2011); as well as
for the Victims of Chornobyl (2001), and
(2005). The score for Roman's Vespers has also been published by and is
available through Musica Russica. Liturgy 2000 was premiered in
Chicago by the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle, conducted by J.
Michael Thompson, at Sts. Volodymyr and Olha's Ukrainian Catholic Church on
July 14, 2000. Requiem/Panachyda, dedicated to the victims of the
Chornobyl nuclear disaster, received its premiere at St. Michael's Golden
Domed Orthodox Cathedral in Kyiv, on April 26, 2001 (the 15th anniversary of
the disaster), with the composer conducting the Frescoes of Kyiv Chamber
Choir. A subsequent recording of the Requiem received its broadcast
debut in April of 2003 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio
2 programme "Choral Concert".
Selections from Liturgy No. 2 were given their North American
premiere by the Elmer Iseler Singers at concerts in Ottawa and Toronto. In
September of 2005, Vespers was premiered in Kyiv's Pecherska Lavra
(Monastery of the Caves) by the Vydubychi Church Chorus, as the opening
concert to the 16th KyivFest International Music Festival.
On April 9th, 2006, Requiem was performed in concert at Toronto's Roy
Thompson Hall by the combined: Elmer Iseler Singers, Orpheus Choir, Amadeus
Choir, the Vesnivka Women's Choir, and the Ukrainian Male Chamber Choir in a
concert to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear
disaster. This concert was subsequently broadcast on April 26th (the 20th
anniversary of the disaster) on the CBC Radio 2 programme: "In Performance",
and again on Sunday, May 14 on "Choral Concert".
Roman Hurko's Liturgy No. 3, the English language setting of the Divine
Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, received it's premier performance at the
church of St. Francis Xavier in NYC on Saturday, November 12th, 2011. The
concert was performed by The Choir of the Church of St. Francis Xavier,
Choral Chameleon, Members of the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle
(Chicago), as well as various Guest Solo Artists, with the composer
conducting. All three settings of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,
as well as the Requiem and Vespers are available for
purchase on itunes.
Many of Mr. Hurko's recordings have received their US broadcast premiere on
Princeton Radio's "Classical Discoveries" program (103.3 FM), hosted by
Marvin Rosen. Most recently, Roman has become involved in a series of
recordings entitled "The Ukrainian Art Song Project" as producer. The goal
of the project is to record the complete art songs of Ukraine's major
composers. Volume 1 of the series, The Complete Art Songs of Kyrylo
Stetsenko (1882 - 1922) was recorded during the summer of 2006 by Pavlo
Hunka, Bass and Albert Krywolt, piano. Also featured on the recording are
Russell Braun, Baritone and Benjamin Butterfield, tenor. The recording was
launched on September 14, 2006 at the new Four Season's Opera House in
Toronto. The Art Songs of Mykola Lysenko (1842 - 1912) were launched
on December 5th, 2010 at Koerner Hall in Toronto. The Art Songs of Yakiv
Stepovyi (1883 - 1921) were launched on February 6th, 2011 at the
Winspear Centre in Edmonton. For more information about The Ukrainian Art
Song Project please visit