about

..Mariana Sadovska plays with fire,
bringing Ukrainian tradition into
new musical territory...

Eastern European critics call her the ”Ukrainian Bjork”. In her energetic programmes, Mariana Sadovska – singer, actress and composer - creates a fusion of folk and avant-garde; archaic midsummer night invocations, wedding songs and emigrant chants from remote villages in rural Ukraine are transfigured into contemporary sound.

Creating her own innovative compositions and arrangements in dialogue with ancient traditions, Mariana approaches each piece with a fresh and uniquely personal vision. Her vocal power and range even prompted the New York Times to compare her with rock star Polly Jean Harvey.


Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Mariana Sadovska trained as a classical pianist at Lviv’s National Music Academy and in her late teens joined the Les’ Kurbas Theatre, one of Ukraine’s leading theater companies. From 1991 to 2001, Mariana worked as a principal actress, composer, and music director at the Teatr Gardzienice in Poland. Gardzienice is renowned for its original “anthropological-experimental” performances based on years of field work studying ancient cultures in isolated rural areas of the world. With Gardzienice, Ms. Sadovska traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe as well as to Brazil, Egypt, Japan, the UK, and the United States, appearing and in some cases co-creating the company’s productions. In 1998, for her role in “Metamorfozy,” she won the “Best Actress Award” given by the Polish Theatre Union. As the musical director of the Gardzienice Theatre, Ms. Sadovska conducted numerous workshops at colleges, universities and arts centers around the world, including one with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, UK.

A grant from the Earth Foundation brought her to New York in 2001. There she produced her first concerts of experimental and improvised music with musicians such as Anthony Coleman, Michael Alpert, Frank London and Victoria Hanna. In 2002, she released her first CD "Songs I Learned in Ukraine" (Global Village Records). She also began appearing regularly in concerts and workshops in the US, including at Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Princeton, Harvard, NY University, and Symphony Space New York. Numerous scholarships, such as the prestigious “Fulbright” (USA), “Kunstlerstipendium Staatskanzlei” (NRW/Germany), and the “Art Atelier” Program curated by Toni Morrison at Princeton University, allowed her to continue her music theory studies and work on dramatic compositions both at home and abroad.

These experiences and exchanges abroad launched Mariana’s global career as an experimental solo performer utilizing her voice together with harmonium or piano. She has performed on stages in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the UK, Ukraine, Armenia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel and the US. With her composition “The Rusalka Cycle – songs between the worlds” she was asked to participate in many international music festivals, such as “Giving Voice” (Poland), “Globalize: Cologne” (Germany), and “Revolutions International Theatre Festival” in Albuquerque (USA).

Back in Germany, Sadovska founded her band "Borderland" to experiment with interpretations of traditional songs and chants from Ukraine. With Borderland, she appeared at the WDR Radio Hall, Festival TFF Rudolstadt, Cologne Philharmonic Festival "Musiktrienale" at Alter Wartesaal, for SouthWest Radio at Broadcasting Center in Mainz, and in the world music series "Klangkosmos NRW". In 2006, she and Borderland were awarded the Creole Award for World Music in NRW and in 2007 they were nominated for the Creole National Award.

Since 2001, Mariana Sadovska has also collaborated with a variety artists and groups - composing vocal music for different international theatre and music ensembles in Germany, Poland, Czech, USA and Ukraine. Her composition of “SCLAVI – the song of an emigrant” with Farm in the Cave of Prague was nominated for the Alfred-Radok Award in 2006. She also composed music scores for the following theater performances: “Caesarean Section” (Wroclaw, 2007), “Singing through the Darkness” (Oakland, 2010), “Song of the Forest” (Lviv, 2011), “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” (Lviv / Wroclaw, 2012) “Camille” (Wroclaw, 2013).

In 2012, she was commissioned by the world famous Kronos Quartet to compose a piece entitled “Chernobyl. The Harvest” for her voice and their string quartet. It premiered in July 2012 in Kyiv (Ukraine), with a US premiere following at the Lincoln Center in New York (2013) and a UK premiere at the Barbican Center in London (2014).

Several years ago she also joined together with Cologne-based instrumentalist and composer Christian Thome to start a new duo project “VESNA” (formerly Cut the Cord). Aside from multiple performances at home and abroad, Vesna toured the UK in 2015 and is releasing their first CD in spring 2016 on the Flowfish Records label.

For her performance at TFF Rudolstadt, in 2013, Mariana Sadovska won the Ruth German World Music Award and was commended by the jury as "an extraordinary artist ... who has the unique ability to apply her artistic research (meticulously done by herself) as an internationally recognized composer and stage performer."

Mariana lives in Cologne/Germany

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