There will be no more prestigious Volodymyr Ivasiuk international pop competitions or More Druziv (Sea of Friends) contest.
Although it is hard to believe, Mykola Mozgovy, the celebrated Ukrainian composer and producer of numerous blockbuster events showcasing young Ukrainian singing talents, has hung up his spurs.
“I’m tired of begging. I organized the Ivasiuk competitions and festivals, Songs Will Be Among Us, for more than a decade in Chernivtsi, and Sea of Friends in Yalta, but all I got in return was unpleasantness and a big headache from dealing with all my debts. Yes, we uncovered new talent during the competitions, where all the contestants sang Ukrainian songs-and these were singers from Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Poland, Moldova, and Belarus. But our work turned out to be totally unappreciated and unrecognized.
“No one can say that the winners of the Ivasiuk and Yalta competitions did not deserve their awards. All those singers who shone during those prestigious competitions were at their finest. Let me remind you of a few names: Grand Prix winners Taisiya Povaliy, Oleksandr Ponomariov, and Maryna Odolska; First Prize winners Hanna Zotieva, Denys Barkanov, Nellie Chobanu (Moldova), Gyunesh and Irina Dorofeyev (Belarus), and the winners of the Second Prize, Natalia Valevska and other singers, who are performing on stage today.
“You know, the impression is that no one except our team needs these competitions and festivals in Yalta and Chernivtsi, which promote Ukrainian art. OK, in the past I couldn’t breathe creatively, but now they aren’t letting me work normally either. I was so happy when the new government came to power. I was full of hopes, but since then all I’ve felt is disillusionment. Where is their cultural strategy policy? What projects do they consider necessary and important? The Ministry of Culture and Tourism isn’t going to finance the Chernivtsi and Yalta festivals, so I decided to quit. There is no one to complain to, and you can’t figure out who is responsible for what.
“I wrote a letter to the president of Ukraine but he never answered. It looks as though the government had other things on its mind besides culture, although the song festivals in Bukovyna and the Crimea had nationwide status (I conceived the idea, carried it out, and headed the jury). After walking in circles, I made up my mind to put an end to the whole affair and end the competitions.”
Aren’t you sorry to part with your brainchild?
Mozgovy: The matter is closed. The only thing that can revive this project is a grant, or if parliament adds a festival and competition expense item to the budget. No one is doing anything about it and I’m no Don Quixote, I’m tired of fighting windmills.
I have other things to do. I’m the director general of Ukraine Palace, and we have to prepare the premises for the next concert season. Although we’re formally subordinated to the Office of the President of Ukraine, ours is a self-accounting organization, we have to earn money ourselves. There are countless problems. In the 35 years since Ukraine Palace was commissioned, the heating, water supply, and sewage systems haven’t been renovated once. These may be minor, routine problems, but we’ve solved the sanitary engineering problem. Our team of stage directors returned from Sevastopil recently after staging the first concert on Nakhimov Square to commemorate the anniversary of the Ukrainian Navy. The whole city was in attendance, and there were no confrontations.
Do you have time for creative and teaching activities?
Mozgovy: I can’t remember the last time I sang. I have no time! But I continue to teach singing. Not long ago I was reelected for seven more years as a faculty head at the Institute of Art of the Drahomanov Pedagogical Institute. There’s lots of work to be done there. I am glad Ukraine continues to produce talented people. As for stopping the Ivasiuk and Sea of Friends competition, it’s a question of circumstances. I can’t see how I can be blamed for doing this.