Ivan Semenovich Kozlovsky was born on March 24, 1900 in the village of Maryanovka in the Kiev province. The first musical impressions in Vanya’s life were connected with his father, who sang beautifully, played the Viennese harmonica. The boy early evinceв love for music and singing, he had an exceptional ear for music and a naturally trained beautiful voice.
As a teenager, Vanya began to sing in the choir of the Troitsky People’s House in Kiev. Very soon, Kozlovsky became the soloist of the Bolshoi Academic Choir, led by the famous composer and choirmaster Alexander Koshetz, who became the first teacher and professional mentor of a talented singer. It was on the recommendation of Koshetz in 1917 that Kozlovsky entered the Kiev Music and Drama Institute at the vocal faculty, in the class under Professor Olena Muravyova.
Having graduated with honors from the institute in 1920, Ivan leaves as a volunteer in the Red Army. He is identified in the 22nd rifle brigade of engineering troops and sent to Poltava. Having received permission to combine service with concert work, Kozlovsky participates in productions of the Poltava Musical Drama Theater. There Kozlovsky was developed as an opera artist. His repertoire included arias from “Natalka-Poltavka” and “May Night” by Lysenko, “Eugene Onegin”, “Demon”, “Dubrovsky”, “Halka” by Stanisław Moniuszko, such detail-oriented and technically complicated parts as Faust, Alfred (“La Traviata "), Duke ("Rigoletto”).
In 1924, the singer entered the troupe of the Kharkov Opera House, where its leader Ariy Pazovsky invited him. The brilliant debut in “Faust” and subsequent performances allowed the young artist to take a leading position in the troupe. A year later, having rejected a tempting and very honorable offer from the famous Mariinsky Theater, the artist arrived to the Sverdlovsk Opera House. In 1926, the name of Kozlovsky first appeared on Moscow posters. In Moscow, the singer debuted on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater filial as Alfred in “La Traviata”.
1927, Kozlovsky sang the Holy Fool, the role that became the pinnacle in the singer’s creative biography and a true masterpiece in the world of performing arts. From now on, this image has become inseparable from the name of its creator.
Since then, the artist sang and played on the opera stage about fifty of the most diverse roles.
In 1938, the State Opera Ensemble of the USSR was created at the initiative of V.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko and under the artistic direction of Kozlovsky. Such famous singers as Maria Maksakova, Ivan Patojinskiy, Maria Litvinenko-Volgemut, and Ivan Petrov worked there; Antonina Nezhdanova and Nikolai Golovanov were the advisers. Over the three years of the Ensemble’s existence, Ivan Sergeyevich realized a number of interesting productions of operas in concert performance: “Werther” by Jules Massenet, “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo, “Orfeo” by Christoph Gluck, “Mozart and Salieri” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, "Katerina" by Mykola Arkas, "Gianni Schicchi" by Giacomo Puccini.
During the war, Kozlovsky as a member of concert brigades sang in front of the soldiers and gave concerts in the liberated cities.
In the post-war period, in addition to performing as a soloist, Ivan Semenovich continued to work as a producer – he staged several operas.
From the very beginning of his creative career, Kozlovsky invariably combines the opera stage with the concert stage. Hundreds of compositions were in this his concert repertoire – cantatas by Bach, the Beethoven’s cycle “To the Far Beloved”, Schumann’s cycle “Poet's Love”, Ukrainian and Russian folk songs. Romances occupied a special place in his repertoire, among the authors were Glinka, Taneyev, Rachmaninov, Dargomyzhsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai Medtner, Grechaninov, Varlamov, Pyotr Bulakhov and Gurilev
Throughout his artistic life, Kozlovsky remained enthusiastic towards performing folk songs. Ivan Semenovich Kozlovsky sang Ukrainian songs that were e dear to his heart with sincerity and warmth. He interpreted them as real poems, the stories of a lifetime.
Moreover, in declining years, the artist did not reduce his creative activity. Not a single significant event in the life of the country was complete without the participation of Kozlovsky. At the initiative of the singer, a music school was opened in his hometown in Maryanovka. There Ivan Semenovich enthusiastically worked with small vocalists, performed with a student choir.
Ivan Semenovich Kozlovsky died on December 24, 1993.
Based on the revised texts from the popular science publication "Hundred of Great Vocalists"; LLC Publishing house "Veche", Moscow