Live Stream: Virko Baley 80th Birthday Celebration Concert, November 8, 2018 at Dr. Arturo Rando Concert Hall

“Tonight we celebrate the life of Virko Baley, and especially his influence on the Las Vegas community beginning 48 years ago when he joined the music faculty at UNLV. Virko has been a true friend to so many in Las Vegas: amusing us, challeng- ing us, and lifting us up. What better way to celebrate his 80th year, than by listening to his music? This music, with all its diversity, beauty and complexity, mirrors his unique personality. With tongue firmly in cheek, Virko titled his publishing company “Troppe Note” (too many notes). But we are grateful for all your music, Virko, and look forward to many more notes!”


— Stephen Caplan

Prepare for the Concert!


Program for the Music of Virko Baley, November 8, 2018

Nocturnal No. 4 (1971; 1987) for piano​​​​​

1. Toccata (attacca)

2. 13 Interludes (13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird)

  I. "...the eye of the blackbird" (tenuto; repentimente!)
  II. "...a fear pierced him" (staccatissimo)
  III. "...cry out sharply...(an indecipherable cause)" (lugubre)
  IV. "I was of three minds/Like a tree" (cantabile)
  V. "It was evening all afternoon" (come di lontananza)
  VI. "...the edge/Of one of many circles" (ironicamente)
  VII. "The blackbird whirled in the autumn wind" (leggiero e virtuoso; fantasioso)
  IX. "A man and a woman are one" (con calore) X. "...the blackbird whistling" (strepitoso; tutta la forza)
  XI. "Why do you imagine golden birds?" (dolce; con alcuna licenza)
  XII. "I know noble accents/And lucid, inescapable rhythms" (tempo rubato e malinconico)
  XIII. "Icicles filled the long window/With barbaric glass" (quasi campanelle)

3. Caccia

Timothy Hoft, piano

Song Without Words: Der Abschied (2003)

In memoriam: Valentin Bibik​​​​​​ Song Without Words: A Poem for Aleks (2007)​​​​​

Andrew Smith, cello
Timothy Hoft, piano

from Partita No. 5 for flute and piano ​(2009-18)

  2. Canto: Soleares
  3. Persona III (Luisa Triana)
  4. Cante Hondo: Pajarillo (Little Bird)
Jennifer Grim, flute
Timothy Hoft, piano


Nocturnal No. 5 (1980) for piano​​​​​​​

Laura Spitzer, piano

Orpheus Singing (1994)​​​​​

A divertimento for oboe and string quartet

  I. Recitative
  II. Aria  
  III. Cabaletta: Kolomyikas
Steven Caplan, oboe
Ambroise Aubrun & Ying Zhang, Violins
Kate Hamilton, Viola
Andrew Smith, Cello

from The Emily Dickinson Songbooks, Books 1 & 2​​​​

  1. There is a solitude of space (Bk. 1, No. 4)
  2. I held a jewel in my fingers (Bk. 1, No. 3)
  3. Love can do all but raise the dead (Bk. 1, No. 1)
  4. Oh, Honey of an hour (Bk. 1, Mo. 1xx, No. 2)
  5. Hope is a thing with feathers (Bk. 2, No. 2)
Lucy Shelton, soprano
Virko Baley, piano

Performance of Virko Baley's Violin Concerto No. 1 on Tuesday, October, 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

Virko Baley's Violin Concerto No. 1, quasi una fantasia (1987)

I. Lacrymosa

II. Dies irae

III. Lux aeterna

IV. Agon

Conducted by Joel Sachs with the New Julliard Chamber Ensemble; featuring Stella Chen on violin.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at 7:30 pm, in Julliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater.


Get Free Tickets Now!

Download the Program Notes 

Critical Commentary

"Baley's Violin Concerto No. 1…had something of the same spirituality as Part and Gorecki, but with more subtle complexity and less literal repetition. The opening movement's mournful violin melody kept bleeding into the orchestra, whose delicate sonorities were dotted with vibraphone, marimba, harp, harpsichord and piano…Though European in its polish and complexity, the work provided the very feature that audiences listen for desperately: sonic images memorable enough to take home."


— Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, New York

"My most vivid memory of the afternoon…[was] Virko Baley's Violin Concerto No. 1, quasi una fantasia. Conceived as a requiem, the concerto squeezes the elements of the mass into sonata-allegro form, with Lacrymosa as the exposition, Dies Irae as the development and the Lux aeterna as the recapitulation. The fourth movement stands apart as a festive wake, quoting folk figures with abandon and giving percussion-free reign.

Baley's music has been described as 'multilingual with a Slavic accent', and I can do no better. Somewhat reminiscent of the mystic minimalism of Gorecki and Part, the concerto takes almost cliched near-quotes from Kreisler and Paganini and turns them into an effectively haunting texture."

— Ken Smith, THE STRAD (September 1995)

"The work communicated an inherent beauty even on the first hearing. Its lyrical and idiomatic writing for the violin and its decidedly mournful tone touched the emotions with an immediacy all too rare in contemporary music."


— Esther H. Weinstein, MUSICAL AMERICA (July 1988)

Purchase Recordings of Virko Baley's Music

Find out more information...

Apollo Chamber Players - Houston Concert Streaming - Virko Baley

Listen to a stream of the Houston concert recording.


  • Interview with Virko Baley and Pavlo Gintov: Starts at 3:30
  • Rondo-Hopak: Starts at 37:20
  • Dreamtime Suite No. 5: Starts at 2:19:27

World Premiere Commission by Virko Baley

The music of Ukraine has inspired countless artists and composers from myriad cultures. Through epic, thought-provoking works by Dvořák, Prokofiev, and a new commission (20x2020 No.13) by Ukrainian composer-conductor Virko Baley, we explore Slavic and Eastern European musical heritage. Dr. Baley’s new work is inspired by the music of ethnic Tatars and gives voice to the current plight of Crimea. Lauded Ukrainian-American pianist PAVEL GINTOV and violinist OLEG SULYGA join as guest artists, and University of Houston musicologist HOWARD POLLACK presents a pre-concert talk at 7:30 PM.

Concert Program

  • Virko Baley: Dreamtime Suite No. 5, "Voices from the Steppes..." for piano quintet | 20x2020 No. 13 WORLD PREMIERE
  • Virko Baley: Partita No. 3 "Rondo-Hopak' for violin and piano
  • Prokofiev: String Quartet No. 2 in F Major, Op. 92
  • Dvořák: Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, Dumky

20x2020 No. 13 generously underwritten by Robert and Lee Ardell

Concert News -- Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Virko Baley, "An 80th Birthday Salute to the Composer"

Virko Baley: "An 80th Birthday Salute to the Composer"

Live at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Get Tickets Now!

Purchase Recordings of Virko Baley's Music

Joel Sachs Conducting Virko Baley Concert Tuesday, October, 2, 2018.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at 7:30 pm, in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Free tickets are available starting on 9/20/2018. Program notes are also available for download

Our October 2, 2018, performance celebrates the 80th birthday of Virko Baley, whose services to new music as a composer, pianist, conductor, and festival director can best be described as heroic. He also has a direct connection to Juilliard: an early colleague at the University of Nevada and bassoonist in Baley’s Las Vegas Chamber Players was Joseph W. Polisi, who – unfortunately for Las Vegas and Baley but fortunately for Juilliard, returned East after one year to take an administrative position at Yale that started him on the path leading to memorable presidency of Juilliard.


Read more: Concert News -- Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Virko Baley, "An 80th Birthday Salute to the Composer"

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