The National Choir of Ukraine "DUMKA" is the winner of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine (1981). It was founded based on the chorus "Dniprosoiuz" in 1919 led by Nestor Horodovenko and composed of 45 singers. The first concert took place in the Kyiv Philharmonic on March 11, 1919. Since the year of 1920 it has been called the Ukrainian State Travelling Capella (Derzhavna Ukraiinska Mandrivna KApela – DUMKA (its name is made from the initials). Its task was "to create a modern revolutionary repertoire" and "to spread it among the broad proletarian masses". The history of the Capella "DUMKA" reflects the contradictory process of the Ukrainian culture development.
In 1920-30s the Capella toured through the country very much, giving more than 100 concerts each year. The repertoire included arrangements of folk songs and world classics. In 1929 the first foreign trip to France took place.
Since the late 1930s as a result of the general crisis in the choral art "DUMKA" had a limited repertoire, in which songs of revolutionary and agitational, everyday life themes, cantata-oratorio works predominated. During the Great Patriotic War the Capella gave concerts in the frontline and back areas.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s there was a turn from choral miniatures to singing without musical accompaniment (a’capella) and to academic and classical singing.
With the revival from the second half 1960s of the classic Ukrainian choral art "DUMKA" has returned to the Ukrainian choral academism and performed works by Soviet composers and West European classics, folk songs.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s the repertoire has been complemented by works of contemporaries (Ye. Stankovych, I. Karabytsia, L. Dychko etc.). The Capella has toured though the USSR very much. In 1978 the second foreign trip in the history of "DUMKA" (to Bulgaria) took place.
Since 1984, the collective has been updated and the creative staff has been strengthened. Thanks to innovative approaches made by Eugene Savchuk there were positive changes in the performance mastery of the Capella. The works by Ukrainian and foreign composers and the vocal-symphonic music took the main place in the repertoire. "DUMKA" is one of the first teams, who has started the revival of the Ukrainian Sacred Music. Its repertoire had works by D. Bortniansky, M. Berezovsky, A. Vedel, K. Stetsenko, M. Leontovych, O. Koshyts.
Since the early 1990s the Capella has toured abroad very much (France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, USA, etc.), adequately representing the Ukrainian vocal and choral art. Over the years of its activity "DUMKA" made a considerable number of stock records on radio and television, in the last decade it recorded 28 CDs.
Nowadays the repertoire of the Capella consists of music for choirs a`capella (arrangements of folk songs, West European music) and the vocal-symphonic music (Y. Bach, L. Beethoven, J. Verdi). "DUMKA" creates a unique Slavic variant of West European classics interpretation, filled with lyricism, beauty of timbres, flexibility of timbres and dynamism of palette. The collective of the Capella (approx. 70 persons) is the first, often the only performer of works by the contemporary Ukrainian composers (Ye. Stankovych, V. Sylvestrov, L. Dychko, M. Skoryk).