Veniamin Savelyevich Tolba (Tolba, Veniamin) |

Veniamin Savelyevich Tolba (Tolba, Veniamin) |

Tolba, Benjamin

Date of birth
Date of death
the USSR

People’s Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (1957), Stalin Prize (1949). Tolba enjoys well-deserved prestige in Ukraine as a musician of versatile erudition and high culture. In his native Kharkov, he studied violin, and later (1926-1928) mastered various disciplines at the Leningrad Central Music College. In the Kharkov Conservatory (1929-1932), his teacher in conducting was Professor Y. Rosenstein, and after that he improved under the guidance of G. Adler, who was invited to study with a group of graduates. The artistic image of the conductor was finally formed in the process of practical activity, and the period of joint work with A. Pazovsky (since 1933) was especially important here.

Even in his youth, he began to play the violin in the Kharkov orchestras – first the Philharmonic (under the direction of A. Orlov, N. Malko, A. Glazunov), and then the Opera House. The conductor’s debut also took place early – already in 1928 Tolba performed on the Kharkov radio, in the Russian Drama Theater and in the Ukrainian Jewish Theater. For ten years (1931-1941) he worked at the Kharkov Opera House. At the same time, for the first time, he had to stand at the console of the Kyiv Theater of Opera and Ballet named after T. G. Shevchenko (1934-1935). Both of these theaters during the Great Patriotic War united into one troupe, which performed in Irkutsk (1942-1944). Tolba was here then. And since 1944, after the liberation of Ukraine, he has been constantly working in Kyiv.

Almost fifty operas and ballets were staged in theaters directed by Tolba. Here are Russian and foreign classics, works by composers of the Ukrainian SSR. Among the latter, the first performances of the operas Naymichka by M. Verikovsky, The Young Guard and Dawn over the Dvina by Y. Meitus, and Honor by G. Zhukovsky should be noted. Many new works by Ukrainian authors included Tolba in his various symphonic programs.

A significant place in the practice of the conductor is played by recording music for feature films, including the film-opera “Zaporozhets beyond the Danube”.

An important contribution of Tolba to the development of Ukrainian musical culture was the education of a whole galaxy of conductors and singers who now perform in many theaters of the country. Even before the war, he taught at the Kharkov Conservatory (1932-1941), and since 1946 he has been a professor at the Kyiv Conservatory.

L. Grigoriev, J. Platek

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