My Way


Bohodar Shved


1973 Lviv (Ukraine)

Now living in

Switzerland and Berlin

Ever since I was a kid, I always remembered music. It was and is like my true home for me. Also to the divine in us…

Ever since I was very little, I knew that the Divine Presence – in all that is – is absolutely intertwined with the music and with my life.

I just had to find out – how exactly.

[Read Further Below]

I’ve had my own piano since I was four. And I had one of the most gifted teachers right at the beginning of my musical life: Yuri Bonj. He was and is a brilliant classical pianist and jazz improviser. The first thing I was allowed to learn from him was absolutely unrestricted piano technique (where everything was possible…) and – improvising! The latter is truly the most valuable thing in music at all.

I learned from him to recognize and use the building blocks of music, to deal with them freely and only then could I see how the great masters like Mozart or Bach had used them….

From about the age of 15 I began my conducting training very intensively. (This included lessons on the flute and violin). At the same time I started singing in a very well known choir in our city; Since then, singing has had an enormous impact on my life as a musician and as a person.

I simultaneously assisted the choirmaster of this choir; he then gave me his choir (plus a chamber orchestra) for my first performances as a conductor (I was 19′). During my studies at the Conservatory I founded my first orchestra – Lviv Chamber Symphonic Orchestra.

What was new about it was that we brought together the best musicians from all the orchestras that existed in the city and thus gave them the opportunity to start at a very high level of technique and understanding. In addition to that, I invited a producer and manager who was known from the big pop-rock show world to promote our orchestra.

As a result, our halls were full, filled with audiences of all generations, tickets were sold out in advance and advertisements for our performances were heard on all the city’s radio channels a month before!

In 1998 I went to the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Even then I had vision about my mysteries: a complete work with successive parts of the music and the word.

But I didn’t know anything about music. I knew I wanted to study in German-speaking Europe in order to learn practically everything about music that is only accessible today in the so-called “professional musicians’ world”. It was therefore a blessing for me to be able to go to Salzburg at that time (1997).

In Salzburg it was the happiest times for me as a 25-year-old conductor from the Ukraine: the big world of “classical” music in the experience of the German-speaking Central European tradition was at my feet!

I could learn everything: I had baroque dance lessons (and was suddenly able to “understand” why the phrases in Bach, for example, are articulated in this way and not otherwise; and then I ended up in the Salzburg Bach Choir as a singer and assistant to Howart Armen:

I was able to perform at the Salzburg Festival; after the closure of the main building of the Mozarteum, the conducting department was housed in the Great Festival Hall: We, conducting students, could experience all rehearsals and concerts (the latter then via the lighting in the dome of the ceiling!) live!;

Additional studies in the departments for early music and church music brought me the most incredible teachers, such as Wolfgang Brunner (founder and director of the Salzburg Court Music), Prof. Herliberd Metzger (cathedral organist of Salzburg), Howart Armen (one of my greatest teachers in baroque music and choral conducting) and the experiences in playing the organ and harpsichord, also conducting a baroque ensemble from the harpsichord;

Through a very intensive access to the singing training at the Mozarteum, I was in the courses with Richard Miller, Dieter Fischer-Dieskau; my conducting major was Dennis Russel Davies: we, his students, followed him everywhere in his European commitments – Vienna, Munich, Stuttgart.

The Mozarteum paid for our trips. We could always discuss his rehearsals with him on the train afterwards; In addition, I then came to three other important teachers in my life: Zholt Nagy and Peter Eötvos (for new music) in Paris and Edenkoben and my true master – Yurij Simonov (Budapest and Moscow) Maestro Simonov has led to one of the greatest transformations in me, in the understanding of conducting, the technique of leading an orchestra and the responsibility towards this profession.

For me, it was a young man with a thirst for learning, who was still experiencing the Soviet Union with its limitations, and who was suddenly able to experience “everything” here, like arriving in paradise! I knew I could experience this privilege because I would then impart all the knowledge at home. Yes, I wanted to return to my homeland to continue working on my mysteries there.

Two and a half years later there was a big move to Switzerland. In the rich cultural tradition of the city of Basel, I was able to get into the opera theater (as an assistant) and come into contact with Jürg Heneberger (ensemble for new music) and fully enjoy distance learning at the Schola Cantorum for early music. The latter then gave me the contacts that I enjoy to this day, also in the realization of my mysteries today.

In 2005 I was able to bring a group of baroque musicians from the Scola Cantorum to Ukraine for the first time; it was a collaboration with musicians from Lviv within the “Festival of Early Music”. Since that time I have already brought 6 different projects from Switzerland to Ukraine and 5 from Ukraine to Switzerland. I suddenly felt like a bridge bringing the two cultures and experiences together, making the European experience accessible to young musicians in Lviv .

One of the most important encounters in my life as a conductor was getting to know and then assisting Kirill Petrenko in Lyon and Vienna. This man had a huge impact on me as a conductor and musician. By assisting with im in Lyon (almost over 5 years) I felt like I was witnessing the most intense study of my life. Yes, assisting with him meant learning the lessons of life when it comes to conducting. I could use many pages just to roughly describe what I was able to experience and learn from him… It is and remains one of the most moving experiences of my life as a conductor and musician.

Because he invited me to Lyon, I got in touch with the artistic director of the Lyon Opera – Serg Dornyj. Thanks to him, I was then repeatedly invited to come to Lyon to assist with Kazushi Ono, Vasiliy Synajskyj, Teodor Currentzis with Peter Sellars, also rehearsing and directing the opera choir in several productions at the Aix-en-Provance Festival.

In conclusion, I can now say – my whole life up to now has been perfectly geared towards preparing myself for my mysteries.