KOLESSA, Chrystia 1915 - 1978 ONE HUNDRED YEARS IS PASSING… …Since the birth of Chrystia Kolessa, Ukrainian cellist, a virtuoso artist of truly rare talent. Chrystia Kolessa was born in Vienna, October 15, 1915, into a prominent Ukrainian family. Her father was Oleksander Kolessa, linguist, historian and civic leader, then a member of the Austrian Parliament. The Kolessa family tree was rich with artists and cultural icons, which included Filaret Kolessa- ethno-musicologist and composer, opera star Modest Mencinsky, composers Ivan Lavrivskyj and Mykola Kolessa, and her brilliant and world-famous sister, pianist Lubka Kolessa. A child prodigy who performed her first concerts at age 7, Chrystia Kolessa's talent burned as brightly. Critical acclaim followed her during her young career, in the concert halls of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, as well as in Ukraine. She performed in recital as well as with symphony orchestras and made several recordings on the Elektra label. Renowned for her interpretation of European classics including Bach, Boccherini, Haydn, Mozart, Chrystia Kolessa championed Ukrainian music and always included the work of Ukrainian composers in her programs. Praised for richness and beauty of sound and a phenomenal technique, the critics called her playing "magical", repeatedly commenting on the astounding authenticity, pureness and deeply musical nature of her play. Chrystia Kolessa immigrated to Canada after the end of the war, settling first in Toronto and then in Ottawa. While raising a young family, she was one of the founders of the Ukrainian Musical Institute in Toronto in the early fifties and became much in demand as a teacher. Chrystia Kolessa continued her concert career, performing both as soloist and in chamber music in many venues in US and Canada. In the 60's and early 70's Chrystia Kolessa was first cellist in the CBC Chamber Orchestra in Ottawa and was frequently invited to form part of juries in competitions. Sadly, her health, never strong, cut short her career and we lost her, at the age of only 62. She is deeply mourned by her family.
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