The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra performs in Paris for the first time since the war
For the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine, the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra is performing at the Philharmonie de Paris, in support of Ukrainian artists.
It marks another stop on the orchestra’s European tour, which began at the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in April this year.
The grand concert began with a prelude by five singers from the Kyiv National Academic Opera Theater, who performed several popular Ukrainian songs.
Other works by Ukrainian composers Maksym Berezovksy and Dmitry Bortniansky were performed.
Kyiv Symphony Orchestra general director Anna Stavychenko said playing original Ukrainian music was an important part of the orchestra’s “identity”.
“Of course we wanted to show Ukrainian repertoire because that was our strategy. Before the war started, we also played a lot of contemporary Ukrainian music,” Stavychenko said.
The Ukrainian ensemble also honored French music by performing Fauré and Poulenc.
For many musicians of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, the tour is a way to convey their own personal pain from the war and also to contribute to the Ukrainian “cultural front”.
“I can’t just sit and be quiet and do my job, whatever it is. I need to talk to people. I need to talk to them with music or with words. But I have to spread this message about Ukraine, about what is happening there,” explained Oleksii Pshenychnikov, violinist of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra.
The men in the band have obtained special dispensation from the Ukrainian authorities to leave the country, as martial law is in place in Ukraine and men of fighting age are normally not allowed to leave. The exemption only lasts until the end of the tour and its Italian conductor Luigi Gaggero said he hoped other venues would come forward to offer to host the orchestra “perhaps until At the end of the war”.
Flutist Olha Stuykalova says she initially struggled with feelings of guilt when she left the country to perform, but now realizes she’s putting her musical talent to good use.
“The best I can do is send a message by performing music, articulating in a cultural way. And now I’m trying to reprogram myself and think that everyone is doing something for Ukraine “, she told AFP.
Watch the video above to see the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra perform in Paris.