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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, writing in the New York Post about a concert of his works given by CONTINUUM, called his music "vibrant, dramatic, communicative, much of it framed by extra-musical allusions that place it in a solid context". After the New York premiere of his Concerto No. 1, quasi una fantasia for violin by the New Juilliard Ensemble, Joel Sachs, conductor, Tom Teh Chiu, soloist, Village Voice critic Kyle Gann lauded the piece and its "sonic images memorable enough to take home". Virko Baley’s newest work to be released on TNC Recordings, Symphony No. 1: Sacred Monuments, was praised by David Hurwitz in ClassicsToday as "Powerfully imagined, clearly articulated, and quite moving…It's a very serious, ambitious statement by a gifted artist, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it turns out to have more staying power than many other contemporary works by today's trendier composers".
Baley's music training began in Germany and continued in the United States at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music (now California Institute of the Arts), where his principal teachers were Earle C. Voorhies and Morris H. Ruger. A composer, conductor and pianist, he is the recipient of the 1996 Shevchenko Prize for Music, awarded by the Ukrainian government, and also the 1996 State of Nevada Regents' Creative Award. As composer, Mr. Baley has received grants and commissions from numerous organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, New Juilliard Ensemble, Kiev Camerata, Project 1000 and the Winnipeg Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Symphony, Continuum, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, California E.A.R. Unit, and from many individual artists.
In 1989, Virko Baley co-produced and composed the music for the film, Swan Lake: The Zone., which won top awards at Cannes, the first Ukrainian film ever to receive a prize there. More recently, he wrote his second film score for another feature film, A Prayer for Hetman Mazepa, directed by the renowned Ukrainian film director, Yuri Illienko.
Mr. Baley's recordings include a trilogy of his chamber music: Orpheus Singing, CD-1087, featuring the violin concerto, Jurassic Bird, CD 1077, and Dreamtime, CD 1090 - all on Cambria. In December, 2002, TNC Classical label released his Treny I-IV (with soprano Olga Pasichnyk and cellists Natalia Khoma and Suren Bagratuni), TNC 1508 and Symphony No. 1: Sacred Monuments (with Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Virko Baley, conducting), TNC 1505. The song cycle, "A Journey After Loves", is also being released this winter on Arsis. As principal guest conductor and music advisor of the Kiev Camerata in Ukraine, Virko Baley has led that ensemble in recordings for over 15 CD's of orchestral music by composers ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Ivan Karabyts, Valentin Silvestrov, Bernard Rands and Yevhen Stankovych A founder and, for many years, the conductor and music director of the Nevada Symphony Orchestra in Las Vegas, Virko Baley is currently Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.