Illia Bondarenko (Donetsk – Kyiv, Ukraine, born 2001) is a violinist, composer, soloist of “Two Violins” project. He is unique by his magnetic energy, talent and skills to play music in absolutely different genres. From the very beginning Illia has been performing classics, jazz, authentic baroque, tango, contemporary music, electronic music in collaboration with professional musicians at the best venues of the world, such as the White House (Washington, D. C., the USA, 2016), Carnegie Hall and the United Nations Headquarters (New York, the USA, 2015 and 2014), Prince Harry charity ball (London, Great Britain, 2014), in Japan, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland. The piece “Meditation on Violence”, composed by Illia when he was 12 years old right before the military operations at his homeland (in East of Ukraine), was performed at the meeting of the UN ambassadors with Pope Francis in New York (2015). Illia is a student of a violin teacher Andriy Malakhov and of composition teacher Alisa Kobzar. Illia Bondarenko’s performing and composing mastery has been highly praised by such masters of classical music as Ivry Gitlis, Shlomo Mintz, Liana Isakadze, Itamar Golan. Liana Isakadze (about the program “Jazz in Bach”, 2014): “He is an incredibly talented musician! So talented that my heart is breaking for classical music as it may lose a new Mozart!”
The duo Two Violins was founded in 2010 in Kyiv by the violin teacher Andriy Malakhov and a producer of the duo Halyna Chyburovska, and became absolutely experimental. From the very beginning of cooperation, the very young violinists, being just 8 year old at the time, started to play music in different styles, preparing impressive concert programs in cooperation with adult professional musicians.
The violinist met during a tour of the teacher’s class in Italy and Poland. The eight year old soloist Illia Bondarenko played the violin and Tetiana Zhmendak played the flute. But after having met the teacher and Illia, Tetiana decided to change the flute onto the violin. And in two years became Illia’s partner in the Two Violins duo. Since then they were united by a miracle story of success and a unique way in music.
When they were 13, the Two Violins duo performed on the stage of the famous Carnegie Hall in New York (September 2015)
Two Violins performed as a part of YPHIL – Youth International Philharmonic Orchestra. Illia and Tetiana were the only Ukrainians in the international orchestra and its youngest participants as age of other musicians was 18-35 years.
In 2016 they became the only musical project that represented Ukraine the day before the referendum in The Netherlands.
They gave performances for the indigenous community, and also Ukrainians of the Kingdom. 5 concerts in 5 cities!
In 2015 Two Violins realized an absolutely unique music tour, showing three different musical programs with different cast of musicians, in three countries of the EU.
Participation in one of the most prestigious professional contests of baroque music in Austria – International H.I.F. Biber Competition; two first awards in the contest of jazz music “Jazz Fantanas” in Lithuania; and a performance with an orchestra in a contest “Young Talents and Orchestra” in cities of Italy with classical program.
In 2015 Two Violins and Natalia Lebedeva Trio gathered the biggest audience in the history of the top-10 jazz festivals in Europe, Alfa Jazz Festival
2500 people gathered around the stage in the city centre to hear them play.
In 2014 Two Violins became the face of a grand international project “Puzzles of Eternity” that was presented in the UN (New York) and London with participation of the First Lady of Ukraine Maryna Poroshenko.
The aim of the project is to restore the Museum of Pinzel in Lviv, popularization and preservation of priceless Johan George Pinzel’s sculptures (18th century).
Two Violins performed at the Charity ball of Prince Harry (London), at the end of 2014.
The musicians gathered 1,5 million pounds for military fatalities all around the world.
The young violinists took part in several the most prestigious contests and festivals of Europe (purposely for them organizers of the events changed rules and contracts as the violinists are underage).
Two Violins play music in 6 different styles which is a real precedent in the history of music.
The soloist, Illia Bondarenko, is actively developing as a composer. His variations called “Meditation on Violence”, written in 2013, were performed at a meeting of UN diplomats with the Pope which was devoted to questions of global peace, in New York, 2015.
At the end of 2016 some changes took place in the duo, and its participants chose different ways in music. The soloist of the band, Illia Bondarenko, is continuing the experimental way, based on years long history of the duo, and widening his genre and stylistic possibilities as a performer, composer and musician. Tetiana Zhmendak is continuing her creative music career separately from the duo.
In the new format the duo performed in Japan and the USA. In Japan, Illia Bondarenko gave 6 concerts with 3 different programs in a matter of 5 days! Including the important charity performances as the concert, devoted to the catastrophes in Fukusima and Chornobyl, “The day of Ukraine” festival in Japan and the Memorial Day of Holodomor victims.
The soloist of the Two Violins duo, Illia Bondarenko, performed at the White House in Washington, D. C. together with Natalia Lebedeva Jazz Trio, including the following members: Kostiantyn Ionenko – bass and Roman Yakovchuk – drums, and an American violinist of Japanese descent Tomoko Akaboshi.
Ivry Gitlis on Two Violins: "Oh beautiful... I don't know what to say. You play good! Obviously you play a lot together. I don't know if you should be married or not, but in the music you are marriage in some way - and it's very important. Do you study in a conservatoire?"
"It was fascinating to hear two young violinists from Ukraine – I still cannot believe what accomplished performers they were, at such a tender age.
They were wonderfully talented, and played flawlessly, entertaining everyone with their skills and, especially, the sheer joy with which they played.
Now that I know their names, I shall look out for them in the future – I am sure that they will achieve great things"
DM, London (Charity Ball of Prince Harry)
"They’re incredibly talented violinists!
They are so talented that I feel hurt the classical music has lost two Mozarts at once!"
Liana Isakadze on the jazz music, the violinist, Paris
"Music is not the collection of the notes.
Music is a style.
Illia and Tetiana prove it with every their performance."
Ralph Rousseau Meulenbroeks, the viola da gamba player