On the last day of January, an unusual interpretation of the great composer Vivaldi rang from the stage of the National Philharmonia of Ukraine. For the first time, a button accordion, a harpsichord, and a chamber orchestra provided the sound, thanks to Ihor Zavadsky. This musician seems to be constantly pursuing new creative ideas. He hit upon the idea of this program and implemented it.
Zavadsky has had ups and downs in the two decades of professional performance. After the accordionist graduated the conservatory, he had to work in far-off rural areas. Yet, he felt capable of something more than just being an accompanist. Zavadsky kept his nose to the grindstone, working on his music. He participated in and won some of the most prestigious international contests. He thought he would surely win recognition in his homeland, but he was mistaken. In addition to playing music, he became his own manager and producer. He organized recitals, arranged for radio and TV recordings, and even oversaw production and sales of cassettes and albums.
But a wall of bureaucratic indifference forced Ihor Zavadsky to take a desperate step. He played in an underpass of Kyiv’s Independence Square. He saw this act not only a demonstration, but an opportunity to draw attention to the sorry plight of Ukrainian musicians. It is no secret that in the late nineties, many professional performers whose talents remained unknown at home began to go abroad en masse. Zavadsky also got offers and toured abroad. But each time, he came back home.
Thanks to his fantastic work ethic, the musician has done well in his profession. He is a virtuoso accordion player. Ihor Zavadsky has a style all of his own. Countless variations, each with its unique shade of meaning, envelop each piece he performs. Individual interpretation of classics forms a major part of his repertoire. Zavadsky says he is sure the accordion is a unique instrument capable of playing all kinds of music. He backs up this statement at each recital. His performance at the National Philharmonia was no exception.
The evening began with classic works of Albinoni, Albenis, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart as well as Chopin’s waltzes and a nocturne. All these composers had written for various traditional orchestral instruments, such as the violin, piano, organ, and guitar. Zavadsky arranged these works for his button accordion.
On January 31, the accordionist was at his best. Ihor Zavadsky gave the staid oeuvres a different, very modern, voice. His performance expressed a wide range of lyric feelings, along with sparkling vivacity and virtuosity. He made his accordion sound, in turn, like an organ, a recorder, and even a trumpet.
After intermission, music lovers were in for a surprise. The philharmonic hall was filled for the first time with music from an unusual duet that combined modernity and antiquity. Zavadsky played his push-button accordion and Svitlana Shabaltina, the harpsichord. Among other things, the musicians gave an extremely tender performance of Bach’s Siziliana It took Zavadsky three years to work on and write his own transcription for Giuseppe Tartini’s Il Trillo del Diavolo . To keep the evil eye away, he renamed the piece Il Trillo dell’Angelo and plays it brilliantly.
In the Concerto La Minor and the Le Quattro Stagioni cycle ( l’Inverno and
l’Estate ) by Vivaldi, Zavadsky performed an accordion solo, replacing the composer’s first violin part. He was accompanied by the Kyiv- based Arki (Bows) chamber orchestra conducted by Ihor Andriyevsky. Zavadsky demonstrated again that his favorite instrument not only fit a classical program, but also added some new timbre. Finally, he showed that the accordion in the hands of a master is capable of playing very diverse pieces.
In the spring, Zavadsky’s devoted fans will get a present. They will be able to purchase his new album, Minor-3.