Ukraine’s First Female Military Orchestra Conductor
Uliana Sozanska, 24, is the conductor of a 60-member military orchestra in Vinnytsia. By her example, she hopes to bust the myth that conducting an army band is not a job for women
Uliana Sozanska, 24, is the first female conductor of a military orchestra in Ukraine.
“Since the beginning of military orchestras, there has never been a case where a woman was the military conductor. While implementing gender policy in the Armed Forces, the head of our military-musical department suggested it to us and our center to appoint an experimental military conductor,” said the head of the Center for Military and Musical Art of the Ukrainian Navy, Roman Berehovyi.
Before, Sozanska didn’t imagine that she would lead a 60-member military orchestra at such a young age. But her plans changed with the start of the war in eastern Ukraine.
“Before the war began, I didn’t see myself in the army at all. In 2014, I graduated from a music college in Drohobych. And with the start of the war, I decided that I want to continue working in music, but in a military orchestra,” Sozanska said.
To work in the army, Sozanska also graduated from the National Ground Forces Academy in Lviv. Musicians said that at first they were worried about having a new conductor, but they managed to find a common language.
“There are no problems with Uliana. We always help her if there’s a need,” singer at the Center for Military and Musical Art of the Ukrainian Navy, Ihor Bezpalko, said.
Sozanska said that the main element necessary for team success is mutual understanding.
“I try not to give orders to people to do what I want. First, I give them advice, and then we make a decision together,” she said.
The orchestra has already played dozens of concerts, some of them — in the war zone in Donbas. Now, they’re working on a program for the upcoming Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.