About life and creativity

Vinnytsia and regions

Vinnytsia and regions


In 1902 Leontovych with his wife moved to Vinnytsia. He teaches music and singing at the parish school. In 1903 his daughter Halia was born here. Leontovych looks for teachers, but does not find them here and goes on. Here he works as a music teacher at the Vinnytsia Church-Teacher’s School.

[:uk]Вежа[:] [:uk]Погруддя М.Д. Леонтовича на алеї видатних земляків Центрального міського парку.[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Monastyrok village, Nemyriv district, Vinnytsia region

Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych was born on 13 (01) December 1877 in the village of Monastyrok in the Bratslav district of Podilsk province (now the village of Nemyriv district of Vinnytsia region) in the family of a village priest.

[:uk]Мати Миколи Леонтовича Марія Йосипівна[:] [:uk]Батьки Миколи Леонтовича[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Shershni village, Tyvriv district, Vinnytsia region

In his early childhood, from 1879 to 1888, Leontovych lived in the village of Shershni (now Tyvriv district of Vinnytsia region). The composer’s father, Dmytro Feofanovych, has been a pastor in Shershni for almost 15 years. Mykola’s parents were his first teachers of music – his mother Maria taught folk songs, and his father – playing musical instruments.

Today there is a plaque on the house in the center of the village where Leontovych lived with his parents, however, the building itself is in a state of disrepair.

[:uk]Родина Леонтовичів[:] [:uk]Донедавна вважалося, що саме цей Будинок у селі Шершні, де пройшли дитячі роки М. Д. Леонтовича (1879 – 1888)[:] [:uk]сучасні фото[:] [:uk]сучасні фото[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Nemyriv, Vinnytsia region

In 1887 Leontovych entered the Nemyriv high school, in 1888 due to lack of funds his father transferred him to the Sharhorod Primary Theological College, where M. Leontovych learned to sing on notes and read complex parts in church choral works.


The monument to M. Leontovych in Nemyriv was solemnly opened on May 29, 2004. The graceful monument, one of the largest monuments of M. Leontovych around the world, stands on the side of the road that leads to the composer’s homeland, to the village of Monastyrok. Authors – Yakiv Kutsenko and Mykola Nechyporuk, employees of the Art Fund, by origin – residents of Nemyriv.

[:uk]Вигляд Немирівської чоловічої гімназії[:] [:uk]Палац княгині Марії Щербатової, старі зображення[:] [:uk]Цукровий завод[:] [:uk]Палац княгині Марії Щербатової, старі зображення[:] [:uk]Палац княгині Марії Щербатової, сучасні фото[:] [:uk]Палац княгині Марії Щербатової, сучасні фото[:] [:uk]Палац княгині Марії Щербатової, сучасні фото[:] [:uk]Княгиня Марія Щербатова[:] [:uk]Електростанція[:] [:uk]Електростанція[:] [:uk]вхід у парк[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Sharhorod, Vinnytsia region

In 1887 Leontovych entered the Nemyriv high school, in 1888 due to lack of funds his father transferred him to the Sharhorod Primary Theological College, where M. Leontovych learned to sing on notes and read complex parts in church choral works.

[:uk]Синагога[:] [:uk]Духовне училище у Шаргороді[:] [:uk]Вигляд на залишки бастіонного замку, будівництво якого почалося 28 травня 1585 року, велося під керівництвом італійського військового архітектора Бернардо Морандо, який збудував головну резиденцію Замойських - Замосць.[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Novoselytsia, Lityn district, Vinnytsia region

In 1892-1895 the Leontovych family lived in the village of Novoselytsia. He comes to his parents for vacations and records family carols and shchedrivky, watches roundabouts, studies vesnianky.

Vinnytsia and regions

Chukiv village, Nemyriv district, Vinnytsia region

Since 1899 Leontovych has been working as a singing teacher at the Chukiv Secondary School. Organized an amateur symphony orchestra in the village of Chukiv (now Nemyriv district of Vinnytsia region). Subsequently, he had to teach geography and Russian. He did not enjoy teaching these subjects (except singing). From his childhood years of studying in the bursa and later at the seminary Leontovych had a formal attitude to learning, retaining all the power for music education and creativity. He later writes in his memoirs: “As for me personally, I cannot complain that the students and peasants treated me unfavorably, though because of my inexperience and youth, I could not be a good teacher at school. It seems that my failures and mistakes in general education activity have been offset to some extent by my sincerity in music practice.”

Already in 1901 the composer publishes the first collection of songs from Podillia, and in 1903 – the second, with the dedication to M. Lysenko.

[:uk]Школа в селі Чуків, де працював М. Леонтович[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Tulchyn, Vinnytsia region

Tulchyn is a charming corner of Podillya land. The town is located not far from the city of Vinnytsia and now houses about 16 thousand people.

The beginning of the twentieth century for the town of Tulchyn is certainly connected with the life of the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych.

From 1908, Leontovych began teaching music and singing at the Tulchyn Diocesan Women’s School for the daughters of village priests. During his work in the town a music school was opened; a choral chapel was founded, which exists till present time.

Life in Tulchyn was the period of maturity and great creative achievements for composer Leontovych. He got acquainted with K. Stetsenko, whose creative contribution he had known long before a personal meeting. Stetsenko then lived and worked as a priest in Holov-Rusava, near Tulchyn. M. Lysenko’s pupil and great master of choral music K. Stetsenko was like-minded and a friend of M. Leontovych. Their friendship, collaboration and life were tragically cut short at the same time. During this period, Leontovych organizes and prepares musical and theatrical performances, in particular in 1910 he conducts fragments of M. Lysenko’s opera “Koza-Dereza”, assists high-school students in staging T. Shevchenko’s play “Nazar Stodolya”, studies vocal-choral works by P. Nishchinsky. He participates in the public life of the town- heads the local organization “Prosvita”.

During the Tulchyn period the composer started his work on the opera “Na Rusalchyn Velykden’”, which was completed in the middle of the twentieth century by Myroslav Skoryk, the hero of Ukraine, People’s Artist of Ukraine, professor.

During Tulchyn period, Mykola Leontovych makes numerous arrangements for Ukrainian folk songs. These are choir miniatures that make the basis of Leontovych’s musical heritage – the processing of Ukrainian folk songs, which are still unsurpassed and performed by all Ukrainian choirs around the world.

On the basis of Ukrainian folk tunes, Leontovych created entirely original distinctive choral compositions, thoroughly reimagining them, giving them a unique sound. Leontovych was one of the first masters of Ukrainian music to interpret folklore in a new way, using the musical heritage of European musical – choir culture. At the same time, the style of Leontovych differs from others with the extreme flexibility and naturalness of the voice movement, the jewelry cut of details.

[:uk]Музей-квартира М. Леонтовича[:] [:uk]Свято-Успенська кам’яна церква[:] [:uk]Палац Потоцьких, сучасний вигляд[:] [:uk]Софія Потоцька[:] [:uk]Станіслав Щенсний Потоцький[:] [:uk]М. Леонтович із К. Стеценком (крайні зліва)[:] [:uk]Тульчинське єпархіальне жіноче училище[:] [:uk]Сучасний вигляд училища (нині тут - Тульчинська школа-інтернат)[:] [:uk]Н. Танашевич (третя зліва у другому ряду) серед випускниць Тульчинської жіночої єпархіальної школи[:] [:uk]М. Леонтович серед викладачів і учениць Тульчинської жіночої єпархіальної школи. 1916 р. (другий зліва у третьому ряду)[:] [:uk]перша музична школа у Тульчині[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Bilousivka village, Tulchyn district, Vinnytsia region (then – Zhuravlivsk parish of Bratslav county)

In 1895 the Leontovych family moved to the village of Bilousivka. «According to father’s stories, – says Halyna Leontovych – these were the best years for our family, with material wealth and a fun life». When Mykola came on vacations, real music playing started in the house. It was here that Leontovych recorded many songs from the villagers that went into his «Second Compilation of Songs from Podillia».

[:uk]Сестра М. Леонтовича Олена[:] [:uk]Батьки М. Леонтовича в селі Білоусівці (батько – третій зліва, поряд мати)[:] [:uk]Брат М. Леонтовича Олександр[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Tyvriv, Vinnytsia region

In 1901-1902 Leontovych worked as a teacher of music and singing. Here the composer organizes an amateur orchestra and performs with it. It is here that he meets Claudia Zhovtkevych and subsequently marries her.

In 1997 a memorial plaque for the composer was installed on one of the walls of the school building.

[:uk]М. Леонтович з дружиною і донькою Галиною[:] [:uk]Регіональний ландшафтний парк «Середнє Побужжя» в районі смт Тиврів[:] [:uk]Садиба Ярошинських - Палац — будинок колишньої духовної семінарії в якому працювали М.Д. Леонтович і К.Г. Стеценко[:] [:uk]Тиврівське духовне училище, в якому у 1901–1902 роках працював учителем музики та співів М. Леонтович. У 1997 р. на одній із стін будинку встановлено меморіальну дошку композиторові.[:] [:uk]Клавдія Ферапонтівна Жовткевич, дружина М. Леонтовича[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Voronovytsia urban-type settlement, Vinnytsia region

In 1915 M. Leontovych participates in a teacher seminar in Voronovytsia.

[:uk]Палац Грохольського[:]

Vinnytsia and regions

Markivka village, Teplyk district, Vinnytsia region

On the night of January 23, 1921 a tragically died at the hands of Chekist agent at his father’s house in the village of Markivka (now Teplyk district, Vinnytsia region).

Now here is the Museum-room of M. Leontovych

[:uk]Музей-кімната М.Д. Леонтовича[:] [:uk]Могила композитора у с. Марківка Теплицького району, де нині встановлено пам’ятний знак всесвітньо відомому «Щедрику»[:] [:uk]Копія рапорту (зберігається у Вінницькому державному обласному архіві)[:] [:uk]Малюнок сестри Леонтовича із розміщенням кімнат у будинку, в якому загинув композитор[:] [:uk]Хата, де вбили композитора[:]

Khmelnytskyi region

Khmelnytskyi region

Kamianets-Podilskyi city, Khmelnytskyi region

In 1892 Leontovych entered the Podilskyi Theological Seminary in Kamianets-Podilskyi. Studied music theory, choral singing, playing piano, violin, wind instruments. He began to process folk melodies, taking the model of M. Lysenko’s treatment. In June 1899 – graduated from the seminary and began to work as a teacher in a rural school and independently improve music education.

[:uk]Кам'янець-Подільський державний університет.[:] [:uk]Кам’янець-Подільська семінарія, в якій навчався М. Леонтович[:] [:uk]Маріїнська жіноча гімназія. Листівка ХХ ст.[:] [:uk]Незрівнянна фортеця в Кам'янці 1685[:] [:uk]Кафедральний костел святих апостолів петра і павла[:] [:uk]Кафедральний костел святих апостолів петра і павла[:] [:uk]Листівка поч. XХ ст.[:] [:uk]Французька карта Старого міста та фортеці 1691 року[:] [:uk]Кам'янець-Подільський, аерофотозйомка 1914 року[:] [:uk]Кам’янець–Подільська духовна семінарія[:]

Khmelnytskyi region

Letychiv urban-type settlement, Letychiv district, Khmelnytskyi region

Quite a short time in 1904 Leontovych works in Letychiv. However, the time span is quite short, almost nothing has been preserved about it. Later he goes to Gryshyno of Donetsk region.

[:uk]Летичівський замок; рисунок Наполеона Орди[:]

Volyn region

Volyn region

Pidlistsi village, Rozhyshche district, Volyn region

After long disputes with the direction of the Vinnytsia Church-Teacher’s School, the composer spends the summer of 1904 in Volyn. It was in this village that his wife lived before marriage. However, almost no information was saved about this short period.

Donetsk region

Donetsk region

Pokrovsk, Donetsk region

In the autumn of 1904 the composer moved from Podillia to Donbas, where he taught singing and music at the railway school of Gryshyno station (now Pokrovsk, Donetsk region).


August 26, 2018 in the park «Yuvileinyi» in the residential district Pivdennyi the monument to «Shchedryk» was opened.

[:uk]Хор робітників станції Гришино, 1905 р. (у центрі – М. Леонтович)[:] [:uk]м. Покровськ Донецької області[:] [:uk]м. Покровськ Донецької області[:] [:uk]м. Покровськ Донецької області[:] [:uk]26 серпня 2018 року у парку



In 1918 Leontovych often visited Kyiv and since 1919 he moved to Kyiv, where he carried out activity as a conductor and composer. After the arrival of the Bolsheviks works at the Music Committee at the National Commissariat of Education, teaches at the Music and Drama Institute named by M. Lysenko, together with the composer and conductor H. Veryovka works at the National Conservatory, at courses of pre-school education, organizes several choir groups.

In the summer of 1919, he decides to send his wife and two daughters to Tulchyn, and later leaves Kyiv himself. After capturing Kyiv by Denikin’s troops he had to walk to Tulchyn on foot!

[:uk]М. Леонтович серед учасників Першого Українського хору в м. Києві (1919 р.)[:] [:uk]Успенський собор[:] [:uk]Київська лавра[:] [:uk]План Києва в X ст. (в часи княгині Ольги). Закревский Н. В. «Описание Киева». — Москва, 1868. Т.2[:] [:uk]м. Київ - столиця України[:] [:uk]Київська опера. 1900 рік[:] [:uk]Працівники народної консерваторії в Києві, 1919 р. (перший справа – Григорій Вірьовка)[:] [:uk]Київська фортеця[:] [:uk]Андріївська церква (1749—1754)[:] [:uk]Софійський собор на рисунку Абрахама ван Вестерфельда (1651).[:] [:uk]Вид на Київ (Печерськ), гравюра Л. Тарасевича з «Києво-Печерського патерика» 1702[:]

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Russia

In 1903 he is consulted in the regent class of the choir chapel, successfully completes the exam on April 22, 1904 and receives the certificate of a high-level regent.

[:uk]Старое фото Хора Придворной певческой капеллы[:] [:uk]приміщення капели[:] [:uk]Свідоцтво регента високого рівня, яке отримав М. Леонтович у Петербурзі[:]



In 1908 Leontovych goes to Moscow to study polyphony. Sergey Taneyev, a renowned teacher and author of books on polyphony, refuses to give him lessons due to lack of time. Studying begins at composer and polyphonist Boleslav Yavorsky who was a student of S. Taneyev. Mykola receives homework from Yavorsky to write a counterpoint on a chosen topic. This is how the story of «Shchedryk» begins which he worked on in his apartment in Tulchyn.

[:uk]Москва в 1908 році[:] [:uk]Храм Христа Спасителя[:] [:uk]Розквіт Кремля. Всехсвятський міст та Кремль наприкінці XVII ст. Рис. Аполінарія Васнецова.[:] [:uk]Кремлівська Набережна, 1889 р.[:] [:uk]Червона площа (1801). Картина Ф.Алексеєва[:]

Leontovych – the composer

Mykola Leontovych is a unique composer. Having accepted and deeply mastered the traditions, he confidently went his own way, having made by his own work a whole stage in the development of Ukrainian choral music. The composer succeeded to select the best from the creativity of his predecessors and contemporaries, supplement it with the achievements of world culture, enrich with his own experience, combine all this with folk song and create such masterpieces of choral art, which became a school of artistic skill for a whole generation of artists.


There is an extraordinary interest in the Leontovych’s arrangements of folk songs: polyphonic fabric and harmony, folk and author’s melody and metro-rhythm of folk song. Leontovych’s arrangements are saturated with seemingly diametrically opposite qualities: complexity and simplicity, wisdom and naivety, symbolism and realism, generalization of figurative content and depth of subtext, objectivity of epos and characteristic of portrait sketches and dynamics of dramatic action, the historical credibility of the song and the contemporary feelings that sounded in the arrangement.


Leontovych’s harmonious language stands far superior to that of his predecessors. Again and here, following the way of the in-depth disclosure of musical images of folk song, Leontovych uses harmony as one of the powerful means of musical expression, achieving polyphonic means of great autonomy of voices. Leontovych boldly uses dissonant soundings, nowhere abusing them, but proceeding from the logic of development of each voice.


Leontovych’s musical heritage is an invaluable contribution to Ukrainian and world music culture. Without the creativity of our classic it is impossible to imagine choral art of the 20th century in all its variety. Mykola Leontovych’s name is widely respected both in Ukraine and abroad.

The main works of the composer:



«Cossack is beard»

«The Duda Player»

«Snow is flying from behind the mountain»


«Grove, grove, green rozmai»

«Oh in the wood near the road»

«Oh dark and invisible night»

«A mother had one daughter»

«Oh from behind the rock mountain»



About love

In the history of each famous person there is a section about love. In 1901, M. Leontovych – a teacher of church singing and calligraphy at the Theological College in Tyvriv, gets aquainted with the educated girl Claudia Zhovtkevych. (sister of F. Nalyvanskyi’s wife – Leontovych’s colleague). As early as March 22, 1902, the story was formalized by an official marriage. Daughter Halyna is born in the family. After the revolutionary events of 1905, his wife lost her second child, a boy. Even though Claudia did not give birth to a son, a second daughter will later appear in the family – Nadia.
However, it is difficult to call Leontovych a faithful family man. It is known that during his teaching at the Tulchyn Women’s Diocesan College he takes up writing the choral opera “Na Rusalchyn Velykden” and seeks to improve the text of the libretto written by his pupil Nadia Tanashevych. Nadia is called the Composer’s Muse. It was suspected that everything was agreed between his wife and Mykola on his departure abroad with his new sweetheart. A tragic night in Markivka prevented it…

About death…

Копія рапорту (зберігається у Вінницькому державному обласному архіві)

In 1921 in the village Markivka lived Leontovych’s parents. On the last day of December 1920 in the old style Mykola Dmytrovych together with Chyrskyi left Tulchyn. However, to Markivka, where he kept the way to visit his father, Leontovych did not get immediately. And this detail, as we will see later, is very important. They traveled on foot for two days, spent the nights in Ladyzhyn Hamlets, in the house of the priest Serhii Smolianskyi. And then, until January 8, the composer stayed in Teplyk at Hrekh and in Strazhhorod – in the family of N. Tanashevych. So he appeared in Markivka only on January 8 (January 21 in the new style) in the afternoon. There was nothing to predict distress.

Two guests soon arrived. Eventually, an unexpected guest recommended himself, though no one asked him about it. He said that he supposedly fights banditry. So he is afraid to spend the night in the village not to be killed.

It was Hryshchenko, an Cheka agent, from whose hands on the night of January 23, 1921, at the house of his father in Markivka village (now Teplyk district of Vinnytsia region), Leontovych was tragically killed.

To the conclusions about the signs of the composer’s political killing summarize recent years’ publications, which state that “…final dot the i’s and cross the t’s in the question: who killed Leontovych?” puts a secret report of the chief of the Haisyn district police department, from which we learn that the murder was carried out by a representative of the authorities – the Chekist”.

“He was killed by Cheka agent Afanasii Hryshchenko, not some thief, not bandits, and it was a well thought out action. The murder was not because the composer of the nationality was killed, of course, but Mykola Leontovych was a member of the Synod of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, and everyone who was there were on the lists of the Cheka Republic for physical destruction”, – researcher of the composer’s creativity Valentyna Kuzyk told.