The Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music is one of the oldest and the most prestigious higher music education institutions in the country. The Kyiv Conservatory was officially opened on 3 November 1913 on the basis of the Kyiv Music College (established in 1868) after long and complex preparatory work. The end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries saw the music college’s reorganization into a conservatory due to the persistent efforts of Volodymyr Pukhalsky, the colleges’s director from 1887 to 1913 and a famous pianist, teacher and society figure, Alexander Vinohradsky, an outstanding conductor and Head of the Kyiv Branch of the Imperial Russian Music Society (IRMS), the school’s academic staff and Ukrainian cultural community.
Petro Tchaikovsky also made a significant contribution to the transformation of the Kyiv Music College into the conservatory. The famous composer often visited Kyiv, readily communicated with many musicians and always sought to support interesting initiatives and help them grow. After one of the concerts at the music college, he congratulated the students on the progress that they were making and expressed confidence that the development of music education in Kyiv was in trustworthy hands and looked promising. This played an important role in facilitating the music college’s reorganization into a higher education institution. Anton Rubinstein, best remembered as a pianist, composer and educator, was another outstanding musician who, having studied the state of affairs at the Kyiv Music College in detail, noted the compliance of its teaching and learning process with the high standards of a conservatory education.
In 1912, Sergei Rachmaninoff convinced the IMRS to grant its permission to open a conservatory in Kyiv. In his letter to the IMRS Directorate following his visit to the Kyiv Music College, Rachmaninoff underlined his full support to its reorganization into a conservatory. Funding was the greatest challenge to the establishment of the conservatory in Kyiv and the philanthropic support was of paramount importance in addressing this challenge. The decisive step was made by Mikhail Tereshchenko, an entrepreneur, a widely educated person and a well-known philanthropist and art patron. Fascinated by art and inspired by the evolution of Ukrainian music culture, he donated 50,000 roubles to set up the Kyiv Conservatory.
Celebrations on the conservatory’s opening and of the 50th anniversary of the Kyiv Branch of the Imperial Russian Music Society lasted for three days and marked the beginning of higher music education development in Ukraine.
Year 1938 saw the opening of the Opera Studio – a generator of the conservatory’s music and drama resources. In 1940, the conservatory was named after Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. During the World War II the conservatory was evacuated and returned to Kyiv in 1944. The war inflicted severe damages on the conservatory whose academic building, music school, concert hall and opera studio were levelled down to the ground. The conservatory lost 100 grand pianos, an organ, orchestral instruments, printed music and book libraries, and specialized offices. In June 1944, the Kyiv Conservatory turned over a new leaf in life having invited the leading musicians, restored its concert activities involving students and academic staff, and relaunched the Opera Studio. The years to follow saw the conservatory expanding and diversifying its contacts, both domestic and international. These include cooperation among higher education institutions, training of professionals for foreign countries, participation of students and academics in international competitions and research conferences, and concert tours. Year 1986 saw the launch of an assistantship program. The declaration of Ukraine’s independence marked a new era in the Kyiv Conservatory’s history. 5 September 1995 saw the Decree of the President of Ukraine on the Reorganization of the Kyiv State Conservatory into the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music mindful of its teaching, research and creative excellence and a significant contribution it has made to the development of the country’s music culture. The Kyiv Conservatory was the first among Ukraine’s performing arts higher education institutions to have been conferred a national academy status.
The Academy’s Presidents include such prominent figures as Volodymyr Pukhalsky, Reinhold Gliere, Felix Blumenfeld, Andriy Shtoharenko, Mykola Kondratyuk, Oleg Tymoshenko, etc. Since 2018 Maksym Tymoshenko, a Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, and Honored Art Worker of Ukraine, and a son of Oleg Tymoshenko, a prominent Ukrainian choral conductor, teacher, society figure, People’s Artist of Ukraine, professor, academician and a longstanding Academy’s President, has led the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music.
Today the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music is a leading center of music education in Ukraine whose 5 faculties and 27 departments teach more than 1,100 students. The Academy’s staff includes 5 Heroes of Ukraine, 5 academicians and 26 correspondent members of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, 65 people’s artists, 94 professors, 31 full professors, 126 associate professors, 108 candidates of sciences, 40 honored art workers and 57 honored artists of Ukraine.
The Academy’s students have an opportunity to improve their musical and vocal prowess in a student symphony orchestra, folk instruments orchestra, brass and chamber orchestras, accordion orchestra, bandura capella, student choir, ensemble of new music, jazz band and numerous chamber ensembles. In addition, the Academy operates the library whose collection includes more than 500,000 printed music items and books, sound recording laboratory and library, basic research laboratory to study and promote folk music, music information technology laboratory, Opera Studio (Great Hall named after Hero of Ukraine Vasyl Slipak), Small Hall and Chamber Concert Hall.