Scope: 1913-1981
Bulk: 1947-1969
Size: 3 c.f.
Language: Ukrainian

The Lysko Collection is divided into five series: biographical material (1925-1928, 1952-1975); correspondence (1946-1977); music (1919-1953); writings (1933-1971); and photographs (1913-1976). The collection as a whole provides insights into post-World War II émigré life among Ukrainians in Europe, Canada, and the United States. More specifically, it reveals the experiences and problems Ukrainian composers and musicologists faced working outside Ukraine.

The first series of the collection is comprised of biographical material including: an autobiographical sketch, encyclopedic entries, a comprehensive article about Lysko by Roman Savytskyi, concert programs in which Lysko participated, and diplomas issued to Lysko and his wife, Eudokia.

The second series primarily contains correspondence to Lysko with some addressed to his wife following his death. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically. All the letters were written to Lysko once he had emigrated to Germany in 1946 and then the United States in 1960. Lysko corresponded with a number of noted Ukrainian composers, conductors, musicologists, and musicians including: Myroslaw Antonowycz, Mykhailo Haivoronskyi, Andrii Hnatyshyn, Hryhorii Kystastyi, Pavlo Matsenko, Oleksander Nosalevych, Roman Prydatkevych, Roman Savytskyi, Myroslav Skala-Starytskyi, Ihor Sonevytskyi, Vladimir Stone-Baltarowicz, Ievhen Tsehelskyi, Ievhen Tsymbalistyi, Ivan Vovk, Arystyd Vyrsta, and Wasyl Wytwycky. Much of the correspondence pertains to Lysko's work on his compilation Ukrains'ki narodni melodii (New York-Toronto, 1964-1994); his volume of religious works by O. Koshyts (New York, 1970); his work for the Entsyklopediia ukrainoznavstva; and his article submissions to journals such as Visti, Kyiv, Terem, Arka, Ovyd, and Shliakh peremohy. In addition, there are letters addressed to Lysko asking him either for permission to perform his compositions, assistance in arranging music, or advice in answering specific questions about Ukrainian music. Some of the more interesting letters, such as those written by Vasyl Dzul and Antin Postolovskyi, pertain to Ukrainian village traditions with regard to music and dance. Other interesting letters include those by artist Lev Gets who reminisces about his friendship with Lysko since their days together at the Polish concentration camp Dombie. Gets also, as well as several other correspondents, tries to update Lysko about the whereabouts of his own music and manuscripts written prior to the Second World War, but these letters indicate that this unpublished archival material may have been lost.

The third series consists of musical scores, either in published or manuscript form. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Most, but not all, of the compositions are by Lysko. These include instrumental and piano works, as well as works for chorus and arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs. The fourth series comprises Lysko's writings arranged alphabetically by title. These are either in manuscript or published form. His writings include articles and books about the history of Ukrainian music, biographical studies on Ukrainian composers, textbooks, lectures, and reviews. This series also contains a few articles about Lysko, as well as typescripts written by his wife of the words for all the songs in Ukrains'ki narodni melodii.

The last series in the Lysko Collection is composed of photographs. The photographs document a large part of Lysko's life, including his time spent in Lviv, Prague, Rakobuty, Stryi, Mittenwald, and Munich. There are also photographs of the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music, the Ukrainian Republican Kapelle, and the State Conservatory of Czechoslovakia. Some of the photographs also relate to Eudokia Lysko's work with the Ukrainian Women's Alliance in Germany which helped run Ukrainian schools at DP camps. The photographs, besides providing documentation of important people, places and organizations, are also a good resource for studying Ukrainian folk costumes and the uniforms of Sich Riflemen.


Zinovii Lysko was born on November 11, 1895 in the village Rakobuty, Kamianka-Strumylova county (since 1944 Kamianka-Buzka), Galicia. He completed his gymnasium studies in Lviv in 1913, and then began studies at Lviv University in the faculty of philosophy. From 1906 to 1914 he also studied piano and theory at the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music under M. Krynytska and S. Liudkevych. The onset of World War I interrupted Lysko's studies. He joined the Sich Riflemen, participated in battles against the Bolshevik and Polish armies, and was captured and held prisoner in the Polish camp Dombie from 1918 to 1919. Following his release, he returned to Lviv where he finished his studies in Slavistics and history at the Lviv Underground Ukrainian University (1922), and where he continued privately his studies in music and composition with V. Barvinskyi. In 1922 Lysko moved to Prague where he furthered his music education, studying composition under F. Iakymenko, then musicology under Z. Nejedly at Charles University (1926). While in Prague he also received a doctorate at the Ukrainian Free University with a dissertation on S. Hulak-Artemovskyi's opera Zaporozhian Cossack beyond the Danube (1928), and completed studies under K. B. Irak (1927) and J. Suk (1929) at the State Conservatory of Czechoslovakia.

Lysko began his teaching career at the Ukrainian Higher Pedagogical Institute in Prague (1924-1929). When he returned to Ukraine, Lysko continued his pedagogical work at the Kharkiv Conservatory (1930-1931), the Lysenko Higher Institute of Music (Stryi, 1931-1938; Lviv, 1939), and the Lviv Conservatory (1940-1944). During his time in Galicia he also was editor-in-chief of the journal Ukrains'ka muzyka (1937-1939), a member of the Union of Ukrainian Professional Musicians (1934-1939), and assistant director of the Music Commission of the Shevchenko Scientific Society. After the Second World War Lysko lived in Germany (Mittenwald, 1946-1950; Munich, 1950-1960). While in Mittenwald he organized, directed and taught at the DP camp's music school, and became the inspector of all Ukrainian music schools in Germany. In 1960 Lysko and his wife Eudokia (nee Chebanenko in 1896, Pishchanka, Podilia guberniia) emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City. He directed (1961-1962) and taught (1961-1969) at the Ukrainian Music Institute of America. Lysko became a full member of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961, and the Shevchenko Scientific Society in 1963.

In his work and interests Lysko allied himself with Ukraine's school of national music as founded by Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912), a devotee of Ukrainian folk music. Lysko's compositions include orchestral, chamber, piano, and choral works, as well arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs. He also wrote reference works, textbooks, bio-historical studies, and articles on folk music. His published works include Muzychnyi slovnyk (Stryi, 1933) and Ukrains'kyi muzychnyi leksykon (Mittenwald, 1947), as well as numerous articles and reviews in journals such as Ukrains'ka muzyka, Novi shliakhy, Nasha kul'tura, Die Musik, and Ukrains'kyi samostiinyk. Lysko's greatest contribution to the study of Ukrainian music is his work as compiler and editor. This work includes a compilation of arrangements of Ukrainian songs for chorus, Spivanyk Chervonoi kalyny (Lviv, 1937); a collection of religious works by O. Koshyts (New York, 1970; and the collection, analysis, and systematization of 11, 447 Ukrainian folk songs in the 10-volume Ukrains'ki narodni melodii (New York-Toronto, 1964-1994). This last work represents the largest collected body of folk songs from Eastern Europe. This undertaking took many years to complete (1947-1961), and incorporated methods developed by I. Krohn, B. Bartók, and F. Kolessa.

Lysko died on June 3, 1969 and was buried at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in Bound Brook, New Jersey.