Virko Baley (born October 21, 1938) is a Ukrainian-American composer, conductor, and pianist. He was born in Radekhiv, in those days Poland (now Ukraine), the only child of Petro (Peter) and Lydia Baley. Before he had celebrated his first birthday, Hitler's army had invaded Poland and World War II had begun. The war defined Baley's early years and gave him a very different view of life and the world from that of children born in the United States during those same years. His father was interred at the concentration camp in Auschwitz following the German invasion while Baley, his mother, uncles, aunts, and grandmother were relocated to Slovakia. The family was reunited on a farm in Germany near the end of the war to work as farm laborers, after which they relocated to Munich. From 1947 to 1949, the Baleys lived in a Displaced Person's camp in Regensburg, Germany.
Baley began formal music training in Germany and later studied at the Los Angeles Conservatory (currently the California Institute of the Arts). Baley retired from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas's School of Music with the rank of Distinguished Professor of music composition after serving forty-six years on the faculty.
Baley is the former conductor of the Nevada Symphony Orchestra and was the guest conductor of the Kiev Camerata in Ukraine. He also co-directs N.E.O.N., Nevada Encounters of New Music, and often collaborates with the New Juilliard Ensemble in New York. Baley composed the score to the 1991 Ukrainian film Swan Lake, The Zone.
In Spring 2007, Baley was commissioned by the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University to finish his opera, Hunger, about famine.
As a producer, and through his record label TNC, Virko Baley has released a series of CDs containing rare recordings of the pianist Sviatoslav Richter and of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the latter earning him a GRAMMY® Award.
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