The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (NSOU) has announced its first UK tour in over 20 years, and the largest in its history, to reflect the renewed interest of venues and audiences in Ukrainian culture since the Russian invasion.
During the three-week tour, the orchestra will perform works by Ukrainian composers such as Borys Lyatoshynsky alongside great classics such as Finnish Jean Sibelius and German Richard Strauss in 17 venues in October and November 2023. No music Russian will not be played.
Alexander Hornostai, director general of the NSOU, said the Kyiv-based orchestra had been an “important part of the country’s culture” for more than 100 years, and was “deeply grateful” to the venues for allowing it to organize such a prestigious event in the UK. round.
“While this war had a dramatic impact on the lives of Ukrainians, we decided early on that we had an important role to play to keep playing, to protect and enhance Ukrainian musical culture and to show that “There is more to our country than conflict,” he said.
Tickets will go on sale from October 19 for venues including Cadogan Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Usher Hall in Edinburgh and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
Mary Harrison, head of UK tours at IMG Artists, which is promoting the tour, said it was an opportunity for UK audiences to learn about Ukrainian culture.
“Until now, Ukrainian culture has been seen as somewhat in the shadow of Russia in the west, with orchestras like the Bolshoi, Moscow and St. Petersburg enjoying elite status. This tour is a unique opportunity for Ukrainian musicians to fight against the Russian spotlight,” she said.
The NSOU ceased performing when Russia invaded on February 24, but resumed rehearsals and performances in late April, with ticket capacity limited in the orchestra’s Lysenko Column hall in Kyiv to 150 people for allow everyone to move into an air-raid shelter under the building. When the alarm goes off, members of the orchestra continue to play Bach sonatas to the audience in the shelter until it is safe to exit.
Two male members of the orchestra are currently conscripted into the Ukrainian army.
As part of the tour, UK venues will raise funds for the NSOU, with an appeal target set at £24,000 based on an expected attendance of 24,000 spectators.