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Kyiv Symphony Orchestra: ‘Voice of Ukraine’ tour comes to Germany

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The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra — arguably the most celebrated in Ukraine — had been scheduled to perform Wagner in the capital city with the star German opera singer Matthias Goerne as its guest on March 4.

But, following an attack by Russian forces on the city, members of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra were forced to spend the night in a basement, underground parking garage and railway station, principal conductor Luigi Gaggero recounted.

Now, as the war continues at home, the show will continue during the “Voice of Ukraine” tour, which kicked off last week with two concerts in Poland.

“Due to the necessity and importance of fighting Russia’s aggression in every possible way, with the highest responsibility and great honour, Kyiv Symphony Orchestra is going on a European tour to become the powerful voice of Ukraine in the world,” the group stated on its website.

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The orchestra begins a seven-concert tour of Germany on Monday, April 25, in Dresden — the event will be livestreamed by DW.

Further performances are scheduled at the Berlin Philharmonie (April 27), the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, among other venues.

“Ukrainian musicians must become the voice of Ukraine and the voice of those Ukrainians who, due to Russia’s military aggression, no longer have it,” according to the orchestra.

Celebrating 250 years of Ukrainian music

The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra has prepared a program presenting Ukrainian orchestral music from its beginning in the 1770s to masterpieces of the 20th century — from “Symphony No. 1 in C major,” by Maksym Berezovsky (1745-1777), to “Symphony No. 3 op. 50” (1951), by Borys Lyatoshynsky (1895-1968).

World-renowned Ukrainian violinists Diana Tishchenko and Oleksii Semenenko will feature as soloists with the orchestra in “Melodie” (1982), by Myroslav Skoryk (1938-2020), and “Poeme op. 25” (1896), by Ernest Chausson (1855-1899).

The orchestra says it will maintain its participation in Continental cultural heritage and perform as part of “a large European family.”

‘We must act decisively’

The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra also stated that the musicians do not need to flee Ukraine and would return after the tour and that the team had “worked on organizing a tour to become Ukraine’s voice abroad because of the need of the tool of cultural diplomacy during the war.”

The primary goal of the tour is to remind Europe of the reality of war in Ukraine, and to convince people of the need to increase financial and military support to Ukraine to help the nation resist Russian aggression.

“They must carry this sad information about what is happening in Ukraine, convince European public opinion, or even more European politicians, that we must act decisively,” said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinski, who is also the culture and national heritage minister.

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