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GSO Spotlight: Tetyana Vakhnovska

Having escaped the dangers of war, Ukrainian refugee Tetyana Vakhnovska is grateful for the opportunity to sing in the Georgia Symphony Orchestra’s season-ending performance of ‘Beethoven’s Universe.’ Vakhnovska is one of four winners of the GSO’s Beethoven’s 9th national vocal competition. She is a renowned, state-awarded mezzo-soprano who graduated from the National Academy of Music in Lviv, Ukraine, and was a leading opera singer at the National Opera in Lviv for 15 years. She has toured internationally with concerts and opera productions in Poland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, China and the United States.

In 2022, following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Tetyana, her husband and their then 11-year-old son made the difficult decision to leave their hometown of Lviv for a new life in the U.S. “It was very, very scary and I had to save my son,” she said in a recent interview with GSO Executive Director Suzanne Tucker. 

She and her family settled in Park Ridge, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. She credits the kindness of many Americans in helping her and her family to resettle. 

“When we came to the US, I had only one friend here…my best friend. The owner of my apartment gave me a table and sofa and many other people helped me and my family. American people are very kind.”

Leaving a successful career in her homeland was difficult, but Tetyana and her family have enjoyed the opportunities available to them here and they are finding success. “My son is very friendly and very smart. For him, the US has been very good. He plays guitar, piano and saxophone.” 

Tetyana is finding success as well. When she read about the Georgia Symphony’s competition on-line, she jumped at the chance. “I was never afraid of competition. There was excitement. It was a great experience for me. My opponents were very worthy, but I think the judges made the right choice!”

Her confidence and joy will be on full display when Tetyana takes the stage with the three other finalists to perform Beethoven’s epic work, The Ninth Symphony. “I sang solos in Beethoven’s 9th many times in Ukraine and it was always festive, like a celebration,” Vakhnovska said.

As for the future, Tetyana does not know what will happen when the war ends. “My mother and brother, with his family, are still there. They are strong, but the situation is not very good. It is very stressful to be so far away. Will I stay here after the war? It’s a good question, but I don’t know. For my son, this is better.”


Vakhnovska will be joined in the GSO’s ‘Beethoven’s Universe’ performance by fellow vocal competition winners and featured soloists: soprano Emma Robertson, tenor William Green and bass/baritone Jacob Lay.

In addition to Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9,” this unique musical program includes Eric Whitacre’s composition, “Deep Field,” which will be performed live by the orchestra and 100-plus members of the GSO Chorus to the film “Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe.” Combining stunning imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope, never-seen-before galaxy fly-bys and custom animations, the film creates an immersive, unforgettable journey from planet Earth to the furthest edges of our universe. Audience members will be encouraged to take an active role in the piece via a free app on their mobile devices.

Tickets are $15-$45. For more information, and to purchase tickets online, visit

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