Virko Baley is a Jacyk Fellow at Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and Distinguished Professor of Music, Composer-in-Residence and co-director of NEON, an annual composers' conference, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He received a 2007 Grammy® Award as recording co-producer for TNC Recordings and the prestigious Academy Award in Music 2008 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The citation read:
"A highly cultured, polyglot intellectual, brilliant pianist and a dynamic and accomplished conductor, the Ukrainian-born Virko Baley composes music which is dramatically expansive of gesture, elegant and refined of detail and profoundly lyrical. It is music which ‘sings’ with passionate urgency whether it embraces (as in his more recent work) folkloric elements from his origins or finds expression in a more universal style of modernism typical of his earlier music. It is always a singular voice and a deeply felt and acutely heard music."
Baley was born in Ukraine in 1938, but has spent his creative life in the United States and considers himself a citizen of the world. Multi-lingual and multi-disciplinary, he infuses his music with themes of contemporary and traditional motifs. Shirley Fleming, reviewing a concert of his music given by CONTINUUM, in the New York Post called his music "vibrant, dramatic, communicative, much of it framed by extra-musical allusions that place it in a solid context."
A highly respected composer, Baley has received grants and commissions from numerous organizations. He is the recipient of the 1996 Shevchenko Prize for Music, awarded by the Ukrainian government and he was also awarded the State of Nevada Regents' Creative Award for 1996. Commissions include the National Endowment for the Arts, Nevada State Arts Council, New Juilliard Ensemble, Kiev Camerata, Project 1000 and the Winnipeg Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Symphony, Continuum, California E.A.R. Unit, the National Symphony, the Kennedy Center, Washington DC and from many individual artists and patrons.
In addition to his activities as composer, conductor and pianist, Baley is a recognized author on music, having written a number of articles on various musical topics and is a contributing editor to both New Grove Opera and New Grove 2000 Dictionary of Music on the subject of Ukrainian music. From 1980 to 1995, he was co-founder and Music Director of the Nevada Symphony Orchestra; from 1971-85 the Music Director of the Annual Contemporary Music Festival; and from 1975 to 1987, Music Director of the Las Vegas Chamber Players.