The music heritage of Ivan Karabits - one of Ukraine’s XX-th century leading composers, represents a number of stage, vocal, symphonic and chamber works. Following the tradition of Mahler and Schostakovich the musical language of Ivan Karabits has deep roots in Ukrainian and Slavonic symphonic and folk tradition of past centuries and has left a deep influence on various generations of Ukrainian composers of the second half of XX-th century.
Born in 1945 in a Greek village Yalta in the Donetsk region of Ukraine he graduated from the Kiev Conservatory in 1974 where he studied with prominent Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshinsky. Ivan Karabits began winning recognition while still a student at the age of 24 when he became as a laureate of all-Union competition for young composers. He has since won many more awards and honor for his works and held the title of “People Artist of Ukraine”. Professor of the composition at the Kiev Tchaikovsky Music Academy, founder and artistic director of the Ukrainian Internatinal Festival “Kiev Music Fest”, music advisor to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, member of Ukraine’s State Comission on UNESCO Affairs, chairman of the jury of international competition for young pianists in memory of Vladimir Horowitz, Music Director of the State ensemble of soloists “Kiev Camerata”.
His works are frequently performed throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union, and many of his compositions have been heard by audiences in France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Argentina, England, and the United States.
The initial period of creative work of the composer is characteristic of the free use of dodecaphony. The works of the early period (1st sonata for cello, sinfonietta for string orchestra, sonatina for piano) are characteristic of expressive type of expression and search of the individual style. In 70-80s the composer displayed his interest in conceptual immensity in implementation of philosophical problems (themes of Motherland, memory, moral obligations). There was a priority of symphonic genres in their correlation with scene and vocal genres, instrumental concert (“Sad Bozhestvennykh Pisen (Garden of Divine Songs) Concert for choir, soloists and orchestra) versified by H. H. Skovoroda, “Kyivski Fresky (Kyiv Frescoes) opera-oratorio, three concerts for orchestra).
Symphonic style of I. Karabits displayed draft for dramatic type as the main one in synthesis of different genre fundamentals (in correlation of epos, drama and lyrics in “Piat Pisen Pro Ukrainu” (Five Songs about Ukraine) epic symphony, conflict dramatic and lyric fundamentals in the Third Symphony). Music lexis of composer reflects the various vectors of style landmarks: different genre and style layers of Ukrainian folklore (duma, plangent song, instrumental affectations) and national professional music art (remarkable chants, canticle, choir culture of baroque, stylistics of B. Liatoshynsky), music classics of the 20th century (G. Mahler, D. Shostakovich, S. Bartok, I. Stravinsky) and modern trends, mass genres.
Universality of music language of the works of next period was determined by the synthesis of different elements of modern composers techniques (non-serial dodecaphony, pointillism, clusters, aleatory composition, sonority) in combination with new acoustical and new modal pitch organization, interception of different style trends (neoclassicism, neobaroque, neoimpressionism, jazz lexis). In sphere of images there is the increase of tragic principle and actualization of the theme of penitence (Concert No. 3 “Holosinnia” (Lamentations), concert-triptych for orchestra), a new implementation of the theme of pantheism (“Music from Waterside”)