It’s not every day that performers receive a national award for their contribution to the arts, but that is the case for School of Fine Arts faculty member Solomiya Ivakhiv. Ivakhiv was awarded the Honored (Performing) Artist of Ukraine in August 2021. The country awards the honor for outstanding accomplishments in the performing arts.
Ivakhiv is the Head of Strings, Associate Professor of Violin and Viola in SFA’s Music Department. She has released several studio albums that have made the top 10 on several Spotify and iTunes charts and has performed across the world.
She hopes her achievement can inspire her students to live out their fullest potential, she says.
“It feels a little bit surreal but at the same time I’m very honored that my hard work and efforts in classical and Ukrainian music have been recognized,” Ivakhiv says. “I’m thrilled that I’ve been honored with the same recognition as so many other big artists.”
Ivakhiv says she equates the award to receiving recognition from the Kennedy Center Honors in the Unites States.
Ivakhiv was born and raised in Ukraine before coming to the U.S. in 1997 where she received her bachelor’s degree of music from the Curtis Institute of Music and graduated with the Fritz Kreisler Award. She received her doctorate in music in Stony Brook University in 2010.
Her passion and success in music seemed to be pre-destined. Ivakhiv’s mother is a musician who was fascinated with famous Ukrainian soprano Solomiya Krushelnytska, who Ivakhiv is named after.
Ivakhiv didn’t attend the award ceremony due to her obligations to her students, who she says inspire her. She added that she hopes to give students the musical foundation they need to help build their own musical legacies.
“Life is a journey and we all have to have a long-term-goal. Dream big and if you work hard, things will work out,” she says. “I never thought I would be studying in America. It was my dream to travel the world and to meet people and collaborate on projects with others and this is what I’m doing now.”
Ivakhiv says part of her duty is make other aware of diverse music and cultures, and to share her American dream and experience with the rest of the world.
“Culture is multi-dimensional. It’s wonderful when people from different backgrounds meet and create something,” she says. “In the 21st Century we have to combine our knowledge with what we’ve learned from the past and look forward and respond to relevant issues of the times.”
Ivakhiv will continue living out her dream in her upcoming concert, Chamber Music at UConn: Solomiya and Friends with her colleague Sophie Shao, awarded winning pianist Awadagin Pratt, and violinist Tom Stone. The concert is Oct. 14, 8 p.m. in von Der Mehden Recital Hall, 875 Coventry Rd, Storrs, CT.
The concert is free and open to the public.