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(Photo credit: Anastasia Mantach)

Ukrainian Conductor Konstiantyn Starovytskyi has Died, Aged 40

The conductor of the Kyiv Opera died while defending Ukraine on the frontlines during the Russian invasion


Konstiantyn Starovytskyi had joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces following Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, and recently died in action. In addition to playing the bassoon, he was the conductor and director at the Kyiv Opera and was working in Ukraine’s National Academy Brass Band.

“Today, the orchestra suffered an irreparable loss,” wrote the band on Facebook. “Our colleague Kostiantyn Starovytskyi was killed while defending us, defending the entire Ukraine.”

“Konstiantin came to us in August 2021 when he passed the competition for the artist-musician of the bassoon group. A talented musician,” stated Alexander Pirozhenko, general director of the National Academy Orchestra.

Born on October 30, 1982, in Brovary, Ukraine, Starovytskyi graduated from the orchestra faculty of Ukraine’s National Music Academy studying bassoon.

He undertook conducting studies with Vladimir Kozhukhar, and in 2021, was invited to the Berlin Opera Academy as an assistant conductor. He also played with the Kyiv Opera and worked in its Ballet Theater for Children and Youth for many years.

With the Kiev Opera, he was co-director, editor, and translator of the Ukrainian rendition of Rossini’s opera La cambiale di matrimonio. Additionally, he staged and directed Donizetti’s comic opera Rita, which received four nominations for the 2016 Kyiv Pectoral Theater Award.

“[He was] a wonderful musician and performer,” said Lesya Dichkore, Starovytskyi’s former orchestration professor. “I remember his interesting arrangements of Rossini's operas for wooden ensembles [he was] Always sociable and loved music. Kostya, I will always remember you and I am very sorry...what happened is such a disaster.”

Mr. Starovytskyi was laid to rest in his native Brovary. He is survived by his daughter, wife, and mother.

Our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

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