In the middle of the war, the kyiv symphony orchestra makes its debut in Paris

The Ukrainian musical ensemble began, Wednesday evening at the Philharmonie de Paris, a European tour which will take it until May 1 in Poland, Germany and Switzerland.

In forty years of existence, the kyiv Symphony Orchestra has never set foot in France. Exiled since the war, he played in Paris a repertoire of his country, mainly French and Ukrainian, to show that Ukraine is part of “of the European cultural process“.

During the rehearsals for this unique concert given this Wednesday evening at the Paris Philharmonicwith the Italian Luigi Gaggero at the baton, the forty musicians of the orchestra chained the Pavane by Gabriel Faure, the Sinfonietta by Francis Poulec, then traditional songs and pieces by Ukrainian composers: Maksym Berezovsky, Dmitry Bortnianski or Mykola Lyssenko (Prayer for Ukraine).

Mozart’s Symphony No. 31, known as “Paris”, also slipped into the program. “It’s to show our respect for this city that welcomes us“, told AFP Anna Stavychenko, deputy director of the orchestra. “We always mix the Ukrainian repertoire with the international repertoire to show that Ukraine has always been and is still part of European cultural processes“, she assures.

While the men in the orchestra have obtained special dispensation from the Ukrainian authorities to be able to leave the country (martial law in force in Ukraine prohibits men of military age from leaving), she recalls that several musicians have remained in the country and fight at the front.

The dozens of musicians who left, many with their families, obtained a residence in Gera, in the German state of Thuringia (center-east). “It is tragic circumstances that bring us to Paris today but we have a cultural mission and it is extremely important to represent our country.“, continues Ms. Stavychenko.

The kyiv Symphony Orchestra has started a European tour which will take it to Poland, Germany and Switzerland until May 1. “Sometimes I feel very irrational guilt. I think most people feel the same when they leave the countrynotes flautist from kyiv Olha Stukalova. “But, on the other hand, we understand that everyone must do their part, pay homage to the country, because, as a musician, the best I can do is send a message playing music“, she says. This sentiment is shared by violinist Oleksii Pshenychnikov, who says he feels the need “talk to people with music or words“.

The Philharmonie de Paris has called for donations for “perpetuate the residency of Ukrainian musicians who have taken refuge in Franceas part of a project led by the institution and Ms. Stavychenko. Since April, several of them have been able to join fifteen orchestras across France.

SEE ALSO – Exhibition at the Philharmonie: the songs of nature.

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In the middle of the war, the kyiv symphony orchestra makes its debut in Paris


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