When Olha Chipak and Oleksiy Kushnir first met in 1998 while studying at the Lviv Music Academy in Ukraine, they could not have imagined where their musical partnership would take them. What they certainly knew, however, was that from that point on they would not only pursue a career as solo artists but also devote themselves to an equal degree to performing chamber music. They soon won their first international competition together (“Roma 98”), but the piano duo—like Emil Gilels and Sviatoslav Richter she is from the legendary music metropolis Odessa on the Black Sea, he from the cultural melting pot of Lviv, where the first music conservatory in the Ukraine was founded as early as 1786—sought more than recognition by juries.
Thus their path as a duo took them to the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Rostock where they majored in piano duo performance with Hans-Peter and Volker Stenzl and in 2006 completed their degree in piano ensemble performance (concert exam - Konzertexamen).
The two have since begun to work at the institution as docents for piano and piano duo.
The duo has won numerous international competitions:
1st prize - Rom-98 (international competition)
2nd prize - TIM (Torneo Internazionale di Musica) (2000)
2nd prize - Chamber music competition in Caltanissetta (2000)
1st prize - “Premio Seiler“ in Palermo (2002)
2nd prize - “Palma d’Oro“ in Finale Ligure (2002)
1st prize - Piano duo competition in Bialystok (Poland) (2002)
1st prize - “Piano duo in 20th century“ (Premio Valentino Bucchi) (2003)
2nd prize - Dranoff International Two Piano Competition in Miami (2003)
1st prize - San Marino Piano competition (2006)
Winners of the International Web Concert Hall Competition (2012)
Success at these competitions led to concert performances at important venues in many European countries, the U.S., and China as well as guest performances at festivals such as the Festival “Virtuosi”(Ukraine), the Piano Festival in Trieste (Italy), the “Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern”. The artistry of the duo is documented in recordings for NDR (North German Radio), BR-Classic (Bayern Radio) and television and radio recordings in the Ukraine, Poland and San Marino.
Olha Chipak was born in Odessa (Ukraine). Her first musical education she got in the Ukraine at the music school (class of I.Zhukovska) and at the music college in Uzhgorod (class of - Doz. V.Pastelyak). At the National M. Lyssenko Music Academy (Lviv, Ukraine) she studied in the classes of Prof. M. Krushelnytska as well as Doz. N. Pastelyak and finished with a graduate recital in the principal subject piano.
Already in her student time her successful stage career began. She gave a lot of concerts in the Ukraine and Poland and became the prize winner of the international M. Lyssenko piano competition in 1997 as well as of “Premio Seiler“ in 2003 in Italy. Notably intense and accompanied by a lot of concerts was her collaboration with the “Ukrainian National Symphonic Orchestra” as well as the “National Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Symphonic Orchestras of Lviv”. There were a lot of solo shows at several festivals, e.g. at “Virtuosi-Festival“ in Lviv and during the anniversary of the “National Philharmonic Orchestra” in Kyiv. Her concerts were added to the Ukrainian National Music Stock. In 2007 the chamber musical collaboration with the violinist Mo Yi and the cellist Prof. Gert von Bülow was induced - the trio called “Trio Quintilian“ was created. In the following period they gave a lot of performances in Germany, Denmark, Ukraine and China. Their interpretations of the musical works of L. v. Beethoven and J. Brahms were awarded with appreciative criticisms.
Presently she is an assistant lecturer at the “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” in Rostock.
Oleksiy Kushnir was born in Lviv (Ukraine) and got his first education at the music school S. Krushelnytska (class of J. Moysyak). During 1993 and 1999 he studied at the National M. Lyssenko Music Academy (Lviv, Ukraine) in the classes of Prof. M. Krushelnytska and Doz. J. Örmeny. He attended master classes of international acknowledged artists like Eric Lesage, Katja Koleva, Alberto Lisio and Bogodar Kotorovych. In 2006 he completed his studies with a graduate recital in the principal subject piano.
During his study time he began to give concerts in the Ukraine and Poland, e.g. with the “Symphonic Orchestras of Lviv”. His activities according to chamber music were also very intense. Eminently fruitful was the collaboration with the violinist Ostap Shutko, which led them to combined appearances in Ukraine, Poland and France. In 1996 they became prizewinners of the international “M. Canals Chamber music contest” in Barcelona.
From 2004 to 2006 he went on with his studies in the subject opera correpetition at the “Hochschule für Musik und Theater” in Rostock at the classes of Prof. Chr. Göckeritz and Chr. Hammer.
Since 2013 he’s an assistant lecturer at the "Hochschule für Musik und Theater" in Rostock.