Creative work







«...Your music reflects life of the whole generation. Your songs are the epigraph to this life ».

«Your songs are not the ‘butterflies’ of fashion. They are deep and eternal ».

«...Thanks to you I began to take interest in Ukrainian music and learned to understand many things ».

«...Your songs are always full of sincerity and tenderness. They are everything that an ordinary and a kind man lives in ».

Igor Naumovich Shamo is one of the most popular modern Ukrainian composers.

Igor Shamo’s life and creative work are connected with Kiev, where he was born in 1925. Being the Soviet Army officer, he went back to Kiev after the Great Patriotic War. In 1951 he graduated from Kiev Music Conservatory, the composition class of Professor Boris Lyatoshynsky.

Thanks to bright aptitude and high level of professionalism Igor Shamo performed in absolutely different kinds, forms and genres of musical art.

In the field of instrumental music the composer preferred genre pictorial and graphic musical imagery. Such are not only ‘Moldavian Rhapsody’, suite ‘Fluerash’, ‘Festival Suite’ and the other compositions for symphonic orchestra, but also ‘The Pictures of Russian Painters’, ‘Ukrainian Suite’, ‘The Songs of the Friends’ suite for piano and a lot of the pieces for chamber ensembles and even the chorus (‘Carpathian Suite’ etc.).

In such kind of works an emphasis on intonation and modal characteristics of national music plays the great role. Such weakness of the composer found its realization in chorus opera called ‘Yatran games’ (libretto by V. Yukhimovych). Written for the soloists and an A Capella chorus, it constitutes a bright example of original realization of Ukrainian folk ceremonial and calendar songs.
At the same time, such Igor Shamo’s works as a Symphony No. 1 for string orchestra, Simphonietta concert for chamber orchestra, a Symphony No. 3 ‘In memory of the heroes’, etc. create substantial images of philosophically deep, lyrical and dramatic simphonizm. Pathetic lyricism which is typical for many various Shamo’s works found its fullest realization in the songs. Developing the line of lyric songs in Ukrainian music, Igor Shamo enriched it with pathos of high public spirit, having created his original style of modern Komsomol and youth songs. Igor Shamo’s works enjoy wide popularity in musical life, pedagogical practice of musical educational institutions, at the concerts as well as on radio and TV programs.
The radio listeners, especially the rural ones, often ask the Ukrainian radio to broadcast the Ukrainian folk songs such as ‘Ne shumy, kalynonko’ (‘Do not rustle, snowball tree’), ‘Karpaty, Karpaty’ (‘The Carpathian Mountains’), ‘Oy, verbychenko’ (‘Oh, willow’). The authors of such letters did not even suspected that these works are not folk, but they are Igor Shamo’s ones. This ‘mistake’, as a matter of fact, evidences people’s recognition.

So, what was the composer’s life?

Igor’s father and mother liked songs, but had never been engaged in music. Unlike them, the boy was born together with it. Igor showed his talent for music at school already. He underwent basic training with famous teacher D. Pisarevsky who recommended his student to special musical school where such famous teachers as K.N. Mikhailov, A.A. Yankelevich, A.M. Lufer, M.A. Gozenpud worked.
Bakh was Igor’s idol from a boy. The boy also was delighted with ‘explosive’, impulsive Shuman, liked Musorgsky and Rakhmaninov. All these composers played a great role in further Igor’s musical development. Being the student with pronounced creative abilities, Igor Shamo together with the others students was moved up into newly opened composer’s class. The lessons in the class gave the boy much necessary knowledge and many skills; they accustomed him to independence. Igor had many passions. In addition to music, he liked history and literature. Also, he liked painting, and he was good in it. But music came unconditionally first. He firmly resolved on studying in composer’s faculty of the Kiev Conservatory after school. But these plans were prevented by the war with fascist Germany. Igor was ending the tenth class.
His father and brother went to the front.
The young man remained with his mother with whom he evacuated to Ufa. He entered the medical institute there. Having studied one academic year, he volunteered to serve in front-line forces. Military Field-Marshal Igor Shamo went through the whole war – from Volga to Berlin – consisting of medical battalion.

In spring, 1946, the headquarters received a letter signed by the conservatory professors. It contained a request to refer the former graduate of special musical school Igor Shamo for further study at the conservatory. Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Igor Shamo together with Lieutenant Lyudmyla Shamo (they married not long before in Vienna) left for Kiev.

One had to give at least one own composition at entrance examination, but Igor had no one. A piece occurred at the last moment, on the eve of the examination. But Igor was pressed for time to write it. So, he played his ‘Fantastichesky marsch’ (‘Fantastic march’) to the examining board without music, which, contrary to his expectations, created an impression.
As a result, Shamo was offered to enter the second year at once, but he evaluated his knowledge sensibly: he entered the first year to his pre-war teacher M.A. Gozenpud. At the chair of composition his teachers were Lev Nikolayevich Revutsky and Boris Nikolayevich Lyatoshynsky.

In 1948, still a student, Igor Shamo became a member of Composers’ Union. On annual contests for the best student’s work he had been winning the first place during five years on end. In 1951, at the graduation concert, Igor Shamo performed his ‘Kontsert-Ballada’ (‘Concert-Ballade’) on piano accompanied by symphonic orchestra. The work entered concert life. It can be heard in Kiev, and then in the author’s performance, in Moscow. Creative development of the young composer began just after the graduation concert. After graduation from the conservatory new vistas were opened up before Igor.
He worked much and hard not stopping on his way to professional improvement.

Igor Naumovich Shamo died on 17 August 1982 in Kiev.
He was buried on Baykovoe memorial cemetery.