The European tour of the kyiv Symphony Orchestra marks the “cultural front” in the Ukrainian crisis | world news

By Joanna Plucinska and Kuba Stezycki

WARSAW (Reuters) – For Eleanora Tymoshenko, a music teacher from Balakliia, near Kharkhiv in eastern Ukraine, and now a refugee in Warsaw, a night of Ukrainian music is food for her soul as she reflects on the conflict ravaging his home.

“Music morally supports a person supports his mind, the Ukrainian spirit, and gives the right to live and gives the right to win the war … … to defeat the enemy,” said Tymoshenko, 50 years, entering the concert Hall Warsaw Philharmonic.

Tymoshenko was one of hundreds of spectators, including diplomats and dignitaries at Thursday’s concert to see kyiv Symphony Orchestra launched its tour across Europe.

For two weeks, the musicians and their families stay in Warsaw. They rehearsed and prepared their tour, while withdrawing the ongoing conflict in their country.

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With a special waiver of the Ukrainian government to allow her male musicians to leave Ukraine instead of serving in the military, the orchestra will also perform in the Polish city of Lodz, several German cities, and possibly add other stops.

For these musicians, playing the Ukrainian parts of composers like Maksym Berezovsky and Borys Lyatoshynsky to a foreign public marks another type of battle against Russia.

“We must tell the world that we are Ukrainians, we have our own culture and we have our own history,” said violinist Oleksii Pshenychnikov 22.

In addition to rehearsal space, the musicians and their families received housing, food and psychological support from the Warsaw Philharmonic, the National Institute of Music and Dance and the Polish government.

Katarzyna Meissner, director of the National Institute of Music and Dance, said Polish solidarity with Ukraine was fueled by a mutual understanding of the need to promote its culture.

“The Ukrainian culture is so rich and yet so very unexplored. For Poland, it is sometimes quite similar looking to the West, “she said.

Polish musicians working with the orchestra added that the concert, the support of Poland to their Ukrainian counterparts and the tour were all part of a broader political message.

“I think in the context of what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is saying, that Ukrainians don’t deserve to be a nation, I think it’s an artistic protest, a manifesto that he is seriously wrong” , said Polish solo violinist Janusz Wawrowski. .

The orchestra’s public relations director, Liza Sirenko, said she hopes this ‘cultural front’ of the war will also help Ukraine secure more weapons from its Western allies as the tour continues. in Germany.

“In a way, like a fairy tale, after our concert (some German politicians) decide to give us a more military aid,” said Sirenko.

(Additional reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar; Editing by Richard Chang)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

Christi C. Elwood