Ivan Kushnir

Ivan Kushnir was born on July 16, 1939 in the village of Bonarivka not far from Krosno, a small town in Lemkovina. After World War II his family moved to the Ukraine. At the time, Ivan was six years of age.

Ivan Kushnir

In 1961 Ivan Kushnir graduated from the Pedagogical College of Kolomiya. Some time later later the young man entered the State Conservatory in Lvov because he could not resist the art of music. Upon finishing the Conservatory Kushnir worked as a teacher at cultural educational colleges in Snyatyn and then in Lvov. He also headed amateur choral groups.

The village of Rudno near Lvov is where the folk choral capella Lemkovina was founded. Much was written about this group although it had its difficulties because there was no permanent director. In 1974 Ivan Kushnir became the capella’s conductor.

The work with Lemkovina, especially at the beginning, demanded its head to show great patience and creativity. The capella is composed of people varying in age and professions. The chorus is comprised mainly of Lemkos but it has members of non-Lemko origin as well. The specific character of the Lemko dialect and peculiarities of melodies sung by the inhabitants of the Western Carpathians created additional difficulties for the capella’s conductor. However, his great desire to make Lemkovina match the leading groups of the choral performing art, and his sincere admiration of the folk songs of his fellow countrymen helped Ivan Kushnir overcome all the hardships.

With the passing of time Lemkovina gained strength and continued to raise its performing skills. Today it is a group of highly professional singers which bears the title “People’s”.

The popularity of the Capella extends far beyond the boundaries of the Lvov Region. The chorus already has one record and another will shortly be released. There are two documentary films dedicated to the Lemkovina singers. Much credit for the capella’s success should also be given to its conductor, Ivan Kushnir.