Volodymyr Mykhailovych Ivasiuk
Ivasyuk in 1972
|Born||4 March 1949|
Kitsman, Chernivtsi oblast, Ukrainian SSR
|Died||24-27 April 1979|
Lviv, Ukrainian SSR
|Occupation||Poet and composer|
|Notable awards|| |
Volodymyr Mykhailovych Ivasyuk or Volodymyr Ivasiuk (Ukrainian: ? ?) (4 March 1949 - 24-27 April 1979) was a Ukrainian songwriter, composer and poet. He is the author and composer of the widely popular song "Chervona Ruta" popularized by Sofia Rotaru in 1971, and later covered by other singers.
Ivasyuk was born in Kitsman, Chernivtsi Oblast. His father Mykhaylo Ivasyuk was a well-known writer from Bukovyna. His mother Sofiya Ivasyuk, from the Zaporizhia Oblast by birth, was a teacher in a local school. He had two sisters, Halyna (b. 1944) and Oksana (b. 1960). As early as the age of five, Volodymyr began learning to play the violin at a music school. Later, he learnt to play the piano as well. In 1964 he created an ensemble - "Bukovyna" - in his school and wrote their first songs, the first of which was "Lullaby".
After Volodymyr had already graduated from secondary school, his family moved to the city of Chernivtsi where his father was offered a teaching position at the Bukovinian State Medical University. Volodymyr went on to study at the Lviv Medical Institute while he continued his musical career. He joined the "Karpaty Ensemble" at a local community centre and played the violin and offered his songs to be performed.
He became an overnight national sensation in the Soviet Union, after a public performance on 13 September 1970 of his compositions "Chervona Ruta" (Ukrainian for 'Red Rue') and "Vodohray" with Olena Kuznetsova. In 1971 his "Chervona Ruta", performed live in Moscow with Vasyliy Zinkevych and Nazary Yaremchuk, and won the Best Song of the Year award of the Soviet Union. His composition "Vodohray" won the best song award the next year as well. "Chervona Ruta", sung by Sofia Rotaru, was featured in the musical-film Chervona Ruta.
Ivasyuk moved to Lviv to formally study composition at the Lviv Conservatory of Music. Upon graduation from the medical institute, he worked as a doctor, and joined the post-graduate courses at the Department of Pathological Physiology to work for his next degree. In Lviv Volodymyr created the songs: "I am your wing", "Two rings", "Ballad about mallow", "Ballad about two violins". All these songs and other works of Ivasyuk were premiered by Rotaru.
On 18 May 1979 Ivasyuk was found hanged in a forest located on the outskirts of Lviv. The official cause of death was listed as suicide but the exact circumstances of his death remain unknown to this day. In June 2019 a new official Forensic examination concluded that Ivasyuk could not have hanged himself without the help of someone else.
Ivasyuk is buried at Lychakivskiy Cemetery. Among his legacy was the first Soviet rock-opera, whose scenario and songs were specifically written for performance by Sofia Rotaru. In 2009, President Victor Yushchenko awarded Ivasyuk the Hero of Ukraine medal posthumously.
There is a museum in Chernivtsi dedicated to preserving his memory and he has statues in Lviv and Kitsman.
In 2015 former Nohinska street in Dnipropetrovsk was renamed to Volodymyr Ivasiuk street.