After teaching around the world, piano professor Mykola Suk moved to the U.S. from his native Ukraine before securing a permanent position. This year, he combines that daring spirit with his passion for piano and embarks on the Beethoven 250 Project. He designed the ambitious two-year concert series to celebrate the anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and showcase the city’s finest musicians.
Before coming to UNLV
While in Europe, I worked as a visiting professor at prestigious universities, such as Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (formerly Kiev State Conservatory), Moscow Conservatory (also known as the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory). Then in America, I was a visiting professor at Columbia, New England Conservatory, and Manhattan School of Music, among others.
A daring time in your life
Coming to the United States, when there was no guarantee of a job. On one occasion, I met with Eastman School of Music’s Oleg Krysa, and Oleg and I were walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City, walking past homeless people, and he remarked that might be our future. Thankfully, it most definitely was not!
My parents were musicians and encouraged me strongly to pursue piano. (It wasn’t negotiable!) I was fortunate to enjoy great success and developed a great love for music, which is quite apparent to this day.
The Beethoven 250 Project
Beethoven is an iconic figure, in the vein of Michelangelo, Shakespeare, da Vinci. Beethoven represents the highest level of humanity and is deserving of celebration. Celebrating the 250th year of Beethoven’s birth, this is a project I designed as a community and collaborative project. UNLV colleagues, students, and several of Southern Nevada’s finest musicians will take part, performing many of Beethoven’s compositions. This is a two-year project, beginning fall 2019, going through the end of spring 2021. It is a huge undertaking, and I see it as a very important project, almost as if it were one of his children.
Biggest misconception you had about UNLV
It’s more about Las Vegas in general. People don’t seem to regard Las Vegas and its cultural offerings and its potential. The cultural evolution of Las Vegas since I arrived here in 2001 has been immense.
Best tip for someone new to UNLV
Make sure to catch some or all of the Beethoven 250 project!
You just won Megabucks and want to give back to the university...
The UNLV Chamber Music Society series. The series has grown greatly since it began in 2012 and serves a valuable purpose for the community.
A cold beer!