Julian Kytasty (bandura, voice, flute, composer (http://torban.org/kytasty))
is one of the world’s premier bandura players, and the instrument’s leading North American exponent. A singer, conductor, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, he has concertized and taught Ukrainian instrumental and choral music throughout the Americas and Europe. In 1989-1990 Kytasty was one of the first North American-born bandurists to tour Ukraine, performing over one hundred concerts.
Julian is a third-generation bandurist, carrying on the tradition of a musical family, and a consummate exponent of time-honored folk styles. He is also known for his original compositions, innovative reinterpretations of traditional music, and his development of the bandura as a contemporary concert instrument. He has collaborated with outstanding musicians from many nations, cultures, and traditions, performing and recording with artists ranging from Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man and Mongolian master musician Battuvshin to downtown composer/saxophonist John Zorn and New Yiddish Music pioneer Michael Alpert, as well as with the Canadian ensemble Paris to Kyiv and with the groundbreaking Experimental Bandura Trio. He has created music for film, modern dance, and theater, winning a Blizzard award for Best Film Score for the National film Board of Canada documentary “My Mother’s Village.”
Since 1980, Kytasty has been the Musical Director of the New York Bandura Ensemble. He is the founding Director of Bandura Downtown, an innovative music series based in New York’s East Village that provides a home to creative explorations of traditional and contemporary sounds and themes.
Mike Andrec (bandura, voice, composer)
is a founding member of the Experimental Bandura Trio and one of the early instigators of the Banduristani endeavor. He was a participant in some of the original Bandura Downtown performances and continues to be active in the Radio Banduristan Song & Dance Ensemble and Collegium Musicum and as a composer of new works for bandura. His other work includes performances in Tom Lee’s puppet drama “Hoplite Diary”, Evan Hause’s opera “Nightingale: The Last Days of James Forrestal”, and at a variety of Yara Arts Group happenings. He is currently co-director of the choir of the St. Andrew’s Church Choir at the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ along with his wife Natalia Honcharenko.
Roman Turovsky (Baroque lute, composer, voice)
is a member of the Radio Banduristan Collegium Musicum. An artist-painter by profession he is a native of Kyiv, and a resident of New York since 1979. He is also a composer of many post-modernist and neo-Baroque works based on Ukrainian folk material for different instruments of the lute family, as well as audiovisual installations that utilize these works as soundtracks (see http://turovsky.org and http://polyhymnion.org/swv).
Ron Lawrence (viola)
has become an important member of the Song & Dance Ensemble and in premiering new works at Bandura Downtown performances. From John Adams to John Zorn, Ron has performed and recorded with many of new music’s most exciting personalities. Besides being a founding member of the Sirius String Quartet he has performed extensively with Quartet Indigo, Cuartetango, the Soldier String Quartet and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Other collaborators include Peter Gabriel, John Zorn, Akua Dixon, Anthony Braxton, John Blake, Bob Belden, Anthony Davis, Regina Carter, Elliot Sharp, James Blood Ulmer, Cassandra Wilson, John Cale, and Eumir Deodato. Further uptown, he has recorded with Kathleen Battle, Robert Craft, John Cage, and Andre Previn. One of Ron’s most exciting projects was a journey to Alaska to record John Luther Adams multi-media spectacular, Earth and the Great Weather –A Sonic Geography of the Arctic. Despite a rigorous performance schedule, he was able to break away each evening to cross-country ski under the Northern Lights.
Natalia Honcharenko (soprano)
is a member of the Radio Banduristan Collegium Musicum. In addition, she has worked on music and vocal coaching for several Yara Arts Group productions (from LaMaMa to Kyiv to Buryatia), has performed with Ridge Light Opera (NJ), and has taught vocal workshops at the Emlenton, PA “Kobzarska Sich” summer bandura camp. She is currently co-director of the choir of the St. Andrew’s Church Choir at the Metropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ along with her husband Mike Andrec.