Tribute to Sergey Krutsenko, the “masterpiece” of Ukrainian culture and the world of music

Tribute to Sergey Krutsenko, the "masterpiece" of Ukrainian culture and the world of music

We regret to announce an incredible Ukrainian musician and composer of rare beauty, Ukrainian film director and the man of great range Sergey Krutsenko has passed away on the Orthodox Christmas, January 7, 2023.

Our team collected the tributes to Sergey from his loved ones, artists, musicians, filmmakers and friends.

Sasha Krutsenko, son:

"Shine like you always did and know that people die only when they are forgotten.

I will remember you forever.

You were wonderful not only as a person, but also as a caring Father.

See you in the Major League, Dad.

Show them all there!"

Max Gladetsky, sound engineer, sound producer:

"A friend, a brother, a dear wonderful person has passed away ... A ray of light, faith and hope. Thank you for the opportunity to live and create with you, to walk together at least part of your glorious journey... Fly straight to God Bird! You deserve it! Rest in peace.."

Maryana Golovko, singer and songwriter, soprano soloist, R. Glier Kyiv Municipal Academy of Music, Vocal Workshop by Maryana Golovko, SUOK, NOVA OPERA:

"Today, we said "goodbye" to Serge Krutsenko…

It has been so strange to feel the light near him today... and now I'm sitting again in the darkness of my memories, thoughts, and feelings. I worried that I had not called him as I’d promised...

Today, I have seen my piano teacher at the funeral. I attended music school No. 16 at Rusanivka. She says that she yelled at us a lot), but this is not true.

She is Serhiy's aunt... and I wanted to call him and shout: "You can't imagine..."

I began to reread our correspondence: poems, music, our work on the presentation of his upcoming opera "the Birds."

There is a recording of “Aria” - we have managed to make its Ukrainian version. There is also an English version, which we planned to record these weeks.

Just in the late December, he called and said happily that he had written my “Aria of Death”... I was supposed to play the role of the bird that disobeyed the enemy's new order and had to die... like Jeanne d'Arc.

I said I'm scared to play death, I mean I've never played death on stage before.

To which Serhiy said: "no, no dear... it won't be this brutal death we're used to. You know, death does not exist; it will be a transition. Your transition to another dimension is very beautiful. You will finally take off," he said...

He took off.

"There is such a musical episode before your disappearance in space. You are alone; there is only the Cosmos and Infinity before you. And you say: ‘You will never know if you are a bird - without stepping into the abyss.’ And you take this step."

Having recorded the Black Queen's Aria, he wrote to me: "when I finish it, the world will shudder "...

There are neither selfies, nor photos... we forgot about our phones when we were talking."

Ayder İzzet-oğlu Mujdabayev, ATR Channel:

"Ukraine has bidden farewell to Serhiy Krutsenko, a creative Man with a capital letter. Not only did I not know him personally, I had never seen his face in photographs. But I heard his Music. It is unsurpassed; it may be his soul, at least a large part of it that will surely live on forever. Serhiy collaborated a lot with many Ukrainian singers, artists, directors, etc., in particular with my friends — Akhtem Seitablaev, Shevket Seydametov, Jamala; he worked until his last breath. By the way, his timeless music was heard by everyone who watched the film "Haytarma" (2013) about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, filmed on the ATR TV channel. It sounded at Serhiy’s funeral. He left so early - he was not even 60 years old. But no matter how many more years pass, everyone will always be able to listen to his soul. For example, here: 

Çoq sağ oluñız, Serğiy-bey! Eternal and bright memory to You."

Jamala, singer, winner of Eurovision 2016, Distinguished Artistic leadership Award 2022:

"I am grieving the loss of my friend. It is no exaggeration to call him an absolute genius. Musician, composer, arranger, orchestrator, poet, director, cameraman and father. A person with whom I worked for 1.5 years on a large-scale project that does not fit into any standard framework of a musical work.

And only with him I could be creative 100% and 24/7. I could be music beside him. He is a real genius.

To listen, to create, to dissolve in the process and to argue, but with such passion! We were addicted to the project that would come soon.

Serhiy did not die at the front, but I attribute his death to our enemy, because they not only take our lives, but also destroy our psychological and physical health.

When they arrange terror, they also kill us morally. And it is difficult for those who are sensitive and vulnerable.

He stayed all the time in Kyiv, working between blackouts and hiding in a bomb shelter.

On February 24, when I dressed my kids, Serhii was the first person I called and asked: "How are you?" He told me, “You won't believe it. The first thing I thought about was to take up your album. When there is a moment, I will take up it."

He was very worried. In the literal sense, he hid all the material, all my music, from the bombs. He had to upload the stuff and to transfer it to the hard drives and file sharing site, even with poor Internet connection.

He told me how he set the alarm for every 2 hours to manage the uploading… For two weeks in a row.

Besides, he was very worried about his children who had to be evacuated, and for his blind mother. She was 83 andhe gave her comprehensive care.

Serhiy worked on his opera, made a film about Babyn Yar and the research into the impact of sound. He always had a lot of cool ideas.

I can't believe it. It is very painful to lose the close-minded person.

It is said that every musician feels death and does something absolutely unique. I know you've been doing a lot.

Serhiy, I promise you to finish our work and I want your name to be heard all over the world. Without you we could accomplish nothing.

My condolences to his family and to all of us. Maybe you didn't know him. This happens, unfortunately, with geniuses. I am sure that you will definitely study his music in textbooks and talk about his contribution to Ukrainian music."

Kelsie Kimberlin, Ukrainian - American musician and singer:

"On January 7, 2023, Orthodox Christmas in Ukraine, my dear friend and mentor, Sergey Krutsenko, passed away quietly while working at his computer in his Director’s Chair. His passing leaves a hole in my heart and the world less enriched. Sergey was a father, concert musician, composer, music producer, conductor, film director, multi-instrumentalist, mystic, and poet, and he was not just good at all of those endeavors, but he was brilliant, a genius who lived every day on a plane higher than most mortal men. I am a Ukrainian-American musician and singer who was blessed by the presence of Sergey in my life over the past seven years. I would not be where I am today without his love, patience, direction and inspiration. In 2017, he invited me to Ukraine to record some songs and film some videos. And over the next several years, I flew to Kyiv a number of times. My experiences with Sergey have left an indelible mark on me forever. He was such a believer in me and my music that it became infectious. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and kept telling me to do better. He was firm yet kind on the set, and I remember one time when I was frustrated and he came from behind the camera, kissed me on the top of my head, and said, “you can do this.” And I did, because he believed in me and saw what I could not see. Sergey had no concept of time, at least when time got in the way of perfection. He literally spent thousands of hours and years of his life on my four songs and videos. I once joked to him that I would be old and grey before he released my music, and his only response, was – “but the music will be perfect.” But Sergey was not done with video "We Are The Promise", which he felt was the high point, the defining moment of his career. He not only produced the song, but composed and directed the orchestration, which was played by the Kyiv Radio Symphony Orchestra. He wrote the screenplay for the video, about a dystopian society that bans music and kills musicians. And he directed the video on a grand scale at an old Soviet prison camp, a thousand-year-old castle, and all around Kyiv. I ran for miles in the chase scenes and raced through the streets of Kyiv on a motorcycle. When it came time for mixing the song, Sergey went through six different mixers and mixes before he was finally satisfied with Grammy winner, Liam Nolan. He said that the song is an anthem not only for Ukraine but for the entire free world. Because the song and video are metaphors for the current war against Ukraine, he wanted to release them on the one year anniversary of the war, and he was working on final edits when he passed. Years before the war, he saw my music as prescient, as both a warning and as a beacon of hope. Sergey was a spiritual being, easily crossing planes of consciousness like normal people cross the street. Now he has crossed out of his physical body, but he has not left me or the world. He will always be a part of me, my music, my life, and my legacy. Thank you Sergey, for being you, for believing in me, and for leaving an indelible imprint on some many lives."

Oleksandr Naumenko, camera director:


It was an honor to work with you.

And to live at the same time as you. Thanks."

Volodymyr Sheiko, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor - Symphony Orchestra of the National Radio Company of Ukraine Director of the Association "Music":

"The Bright Genius, our Serge Krutsenko, passed away. Composer, Poet, Director, Friend... Deep gratitude to you for your sincere heart, full of love for people and life, for all these inspiring years of friendship, for our incredible creativity and bright dreams... Fly! May Heaven shines on you! Your Birds will sing with you!

Eternal memory to you, Serhey..."

Oleksandr Kochetkov:

"In memory of my co-author and Godbrother.

Serge Krutsenko left the earthly world. Kruts, as his close people called him. We talked just the other day, everything was as usual.

We met nearly a quarter century ago. There was a period when we composed our (brilliant, of course!) musical together and lived literally the same life. Serge was a multi-talented person —extraordinary composer, amazing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, a poet from God. Besides, he was both an empathetic co-author and a motivating rival for me — in creativity, but not only.

Besides, God gave me Kruts as a godbrother. We were godfathers twice: he became a godfather to my daughter, I became a godfather to his son. We walked most of the way to the Temple together.

Kruts was always looking to the future and setting new goals. His ideas always helped us to get off the ground. I believe that he went to Heaven. God rest his soul!

For illustration - one of the most recent photos of Kruts when he was delivering a lecture on the nature of musical sound for the advanced audience.

There is a link to several of our mutual songs."

Olena Mozgovа, producer:

"I remember our trip to New York very well... how the three of us wandered, explored, thought and dreamed, and even filmed something... now we will make an effort to find those shots of us in the Central Park, on the Brooklyn Bridge, in the subway. The three of us spent the night in a small room, on mattresses, because there was no money for anything else then, and early in the morning we got on the subway and went to the center. We knew about Serhiy’s latest plans and dreams, he showed us fragments of his work and called it his life's work… but he didn't have time..

He knew about our current plans and dreams... we always consulted with him, his opinion was important to us... now we have to realize them not only for us, but also for him... we will try very hard, Friend! We promise!

See you in Eternity."

Pavel Piminov, Executive Director in VERE MUSIC FUND:

"Incidentally, one of Serhiy's last public performances was in our VERE MUSIC ACADEMY project. He came to talk to young musicians about his understanding of sound. Kyiv was badly shelled on that day. But the listeners came anyway, and we spoke together for two hours.

Serhii has such inner strength, such fire that he attracts hundreds of people to him. We were drawn by his delight, dazzling fanaticism, excellence in everything.

He did much for young Ukrainian musicians who play classical music. Let me mention, for example, our project of 2017, when we recorded pianists, violinists, singers for 12-16 hours in a row during three days at the Sound Recording House using six (or evenl twelve!) cameras. Our musicians have never received so much attention and so many opportunities for themselves and their music. And the first recording of classical music in DSD format, which he made together with Maksym Hladetskyi in our VERE MUSIC New Year 2020 project, is probably the only such experience in Ukraine today.

Thank you for everything. You believed and knew that we were changing the world. That's really the truth!"

Sergey Krutsenko

Iryna Kabysh, writer, photo artist:

"I remember your words: "The most important thing in life is the truth. The rest doesn't matter."

I can imagine how You, at a great height, right now, see so much Truth... I want to discuss endlessly all this and that.

A great loss.


Alex Steingardt, Motion Graphic Designer and Video Editor in Adlerblick:

"Acquaintance with you forever changed my approach to cinema and film music. I am very grateful for the opportunity to create with you. You called recently to talk about what is really important and valuable, and now it is very sad to realize that everything ended like this. But I will always remember you the way you were."

Roman Topilov, Elty Records:

"Serge Krutsenko passed away prematurely. The world has become one genius poorer. It’s an irreplaceable loss for Ukrainian culture and the world of music. Sound engineer, composer, conservatory teacher, director, poet... this is just a short list. The list of his occupations included inventions in the field of multi-channel video filming, philosophical works. And it was impossible to get to his workshops on sound. Serge Krutsenko was among the first in Ukraine to work with Hollywood.

Almost every my visit to Kyiv was accompanied by the happiness of chatting to him, as a rule, in the Recording House of Ukrainian Radio. Where I could observe the divine act of turning ordinary musical material into a masterpiece. For Sergey, sound was not only an information carrier. He endowed it with philosophical meanings, and music with direct proof of the existence of God. Now they will be closer to each other. And we have suffered a huge loss. It's like losing a commander in a war. It’s so painful…"

Vitaliy Klymov, producer Ukrfilmtrest and Ukrmuzprom:

"I won’t talk about artistic talents (yes, talents - in the plural), everyone who reads this understands their scale and what we have lost.

...We’ve been friends since the mid-1990s, that frolic new generation of independent musicians and fledgling "producers", if I may so describe that sound cloud - with all its romanticism, lifestyle, alcohol abuse (well, it’s true), confidence in the uniqueness of everything you do and so on...

Our last (in this world) conversation was on Serhiy's birthday. I was late, I called at 23:59 and said - "cool – it’s not who was the first to congratulate (that’s not important), but who is the last, we've been talking for a minute and a half, so I won." And then we moved on to the topic of why Love exists - such a sudden twist. My assumption was that it exists because it generates a kind of energy, which is collected in some metaphysical power bank and is then redistributed from there. Kruts listened carefully and said – it isn’t too much of a discovery, it is exactly so and has been known for more than 1000 years, but science is afraid to make the results public. And then I said - "Serhiy, I confess, I love you!" And I’m happy I can generate it...

Well, what I mean...

It is impossible to have such a thirst for the flow of life, for everything new, for justice as a basic value, without inner love, without a feeling of Love as such, without faith in all the best that can exist in people. Not for anyone, not for anything in particular. Almost according to Kant – for the thing in itself. And that was...and is...Krutsenko!

The Lord called to himself a powerful Generator of Love, it’s his decision. As Krutsenko said in that last conversation, "it will not disappear anywhere, there is as much of it as there is at once."

Sergiy Trotsenko, accordionist in Bryats band:

"Why do we lose the best?

A genius like you is one in a million. I first met you when we did a voiceover of the Khaitarma film. Working with you was always interesting, unpredictable, just a thrill. A person who created music out of thin air.

I am proud to have known you!"

Dima Yaremenko, Living Light Productions:

"Krutsyk, Serge Krutsenko left us.

For me, he has always been a big part of Kyiv.





An incredibly talented person.

But his personal qualities exceeded all his talents. It was always easy and safe with him. He created and shared creative tips with everyone. He respected his interlocutors. He found talents in people that they did not even know about.

This is a huge loss for Ukraine.

Serhiy, your life was beautiful. Thanks. See you."

Nadiya Pozharskaya, Special Projects Manager at "BYHMC - Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center":

"The incredible Serge Krutsenko died. I was lucky to work with Seryozha - we searched for music, experimented with low-frequency sounds in pipes on night wastelands, wrote voices and orchestras, read out lyrics. I remember Seryozha as a great professional and erudite, a very talented, subtle and generous person. He was interesting and surprisingly easy to work with.
When he talked about his life, I thought he was a hundred years old, otherwise how could he manage it all. When he talked about his plans, his eyes burned like those of a twenty-year-old.
A sage, a dreamer, an inventor, a romantic, I hope you are in the best of worlds, my friend, there is a great sound there and we will definitely meet there again.
Rest in eternal peace and love."

"Serge Krutsenko left the earthly world. Kruts, as his close people called him. We talked just the other day, everything was as usual.

We met nearly a quarter century ago. There was a period when we composed our (brilliant, of course!) musical together and lived literally the same life. Serge was a multi-talented person —extraordinary composer, amazing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, a poet from God. Besides, he was both an empathetic co-author and a motivating rival for me — in creativity, but not only.

Kruts was always looking to the future and setting new goals. His ideas always helped us to get off the ground. I believe that he went to Heaven. God rest his soul!"

Tetiana Rud, Odessa Light Fest, Ukrainian Event Awards:

"A genius, a bright and talented man has left us. Musician, composer, producer, poet, director, cameraman, father, son, head of the 3D design studio, teacher of vocal and sound engineering...

Recently, he worked on several projects, almost continuously... One of them is the author's opera "The Birds", which we will probably never see... and we will definitely not see it the way Serhiy did. He was in a great hurry. He created every second, he stayed in Kyiv and worked between power outages... when there was light... he composed an opera that was about light... and the music of the opera was part of an even larger scientific work, a study on the effects of sound...

During the last weeks, we prepared some parts of the project for grant programs, and not being in Ukraine, I felt well... how it is... to coordinate my life with the work schedules of the light... it was taken away by the war... and it kills not only at the front. ..

In February...he moved the studio out of the city center to hide and preserve his creative projects and to be able to work...then he evacuated his kids, and he stayed...stayed with his elderly blind mother he was looking after.

He also worked on a project about Babyn Yar, part of which was the film "Address on the Wall".

Each of the projects he created is worthy of attention not only for its musical, technical complexity and beauty, but also for the depth of thought.

Maybe not everyone knows him, but do you all remember the best shows created for the Vinnytsia light and music Fountains? That was all him...

He was very worried about creative projects, about his mother, about his kids, about the war, about all of us...

He always said - look even bigger.

He thought of the whole planet and more.

Serge Krutsenko, I will definitely realize one of our common dreams. It is such a rare phenomenon when you have an idea for years, and then you meet a person, and you understand that you have one idea for two, born at different times, under different conditions, in different places, but the same.

It must have been inevitable. I wish I had followed the advice to make friends with you back in 2014. And I am infinitely, sincerely glad you found me a year ago.

It's hard to comprehend... hard to say... rest in peace..."

Andriy Bondarets, photographer:

"Dear friend, Serge Krutsenko, the news about your death took my breath away... It is impossible to imagine, absolutely impossible! You were and will remain in our hearts as a bright person full of life and creative plans for the future! Your songs, music, directorial works, wisdom and love for people will remain with us forever.

I am proud and happy that I had a chance to work with you and sing your immortal songs, which are forever in my heart!

Rest in peace, friend! The Heavenly Kingdom is ready to receive you!"

Mariia Krutsenko, daughter, singer, songwriter and musician:

"I've never used Facebook, but I guess it's about time. Hi, Dad. How are you? I'm sure you're looking down while I'm writing this text. You see my tears. See my smile when I recall your jokes and your peerless intelligence. And you see how proud I am of you. Just like you were proud of me. Words can’t describe how much I miss our hour-long (and before the invasion - not only) phone conversations on every possible topic. Going to the movies. Working in the studio surrounded by such inexplicably interesting machines. Every day you tried to make this world better. You did. You know, Dad, I don't say goodbye. We will definitely meet in better worlds. And I will give you a big, big hug. Hope you knew you were important. Hope it was quick.

Remember Serhiy Krutsenko in your thoughts and prayers. Dad is alive as long as he is remembered. I remember and will never forget you, Daddy. Fly. I love you - forever and always."

Eternal memory, Druzhe!

Ukraine Front Lines


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