Now, under the patronage of Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, UFO defends Ukraine’s artistic legacy on the cultural front. The two Polish concerts, at the Polish National Opera, which co-produces the tour, and at the Baltic Philharmonic Hall in Gdańsk, are held under the patronage of Agata Kornhauser-Duda, the Spouse of the President of the Republic of Poland.
Following its acclaimed 2022 inaugural tour of Europe and the US, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra conducted by its Canadian-Ukrainian Music Director Keri-Lynn Wilson, will regroup this August and September for a tour of major European festivals and cities in a continuing demonstration of Ukrainian artistry as the nation fights for its freedom. The 74-piece orchestra includes Ukrainian musicians from across the country, some of the male members having received special permission from the Ukrainian government to serve their nation through their music, as well as Ukrainian refugee musicians and Ukrainian members of European orchestras. Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov will be the soloist.
The orchestra will once again assemble in Warsaw under the auspices of the Polish National Opera, in coordination with the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and the Metropolitan Opera. The tour will begin at the Polish National Opera with a performance of the Beethoven 9th Symphony, featuring the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir from Białystok and Ukrainian soloists Olga Kulchynska (soprano), Nicole Chirka (mezzo-soprano), Dmytro Popov (tenor), Vladyslav Buialsky (bass-baritone). The rest of the tour will feature a program that includes Ukrainian composer Yevhen Stankovych’s Second Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Third Symphony “Eroica.” A major highlight of the tour will be a free outdoor concert in the grounds of the Schönhausen Palace in Berlin on August 24, Ukrainian Independence Day, with an audience in the thousands expected to attend.
The orchestra’s musicians are drawn from the Kyiv National Opera, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, and Kharkiv Opera, among other Ukrainian ensembles. Outside of Ukraine, players come from ensembles including the Tonkunstler Orchestra of Vienna, the Belgian National Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle, Berlin. Once again, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine is supporting the project by addressing the organizational issues of allowing male members of the orchestra to leave the country and to deploy their musical excellence as part of the wider war effort in a remarkable demonstration of the power of art over adversity.
‘The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra is the musical voice of Ukraine. Universal and understandable without translation, music is a language we can use to speak to the world. I invite you to attend the concerts of the UFO 2023 Summer Freedom Tour to hear the timeless message of liberty contained in the eternal classics of their program. Music will speak to silence aggression,’ said First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.
Founding conductor and music director of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra Keri-Lynn Wilson said, ‘As Ukraine continues its brave fight on behalf of the free world it needs our support now more than ever. And with this summer’s freedom tour of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, I’m proud to join the brave musicians of the Orchestra once again as we defend Ukraine’s cultural legacy. We will not rest until the war is won.’
The Metropolitan Opera and the Polish National Opera – under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb in New York and Waldemar Dąbrowski, director of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw – are proud to have founded and facilitated the orchestra last year and are delighted to again support the orchestra in its 2023 tour. Both The Met and the Polish National Opera continue to play leading roles in the cultural world in standing up to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and in expressing support for the war’s victims. Both organizations extend their gratitude to the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for its generous funding of the rehearsal period in Warsaw as well as the concerts in Warsaw and Gdansk.
The 2022 inaugural Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra tour was one of the most significant cultural events of last year. The orchestra attracted critical acclaim and rapturous audience reactions as well as almost unprecedented media coverage for an orchestral tour of this type. Three of the thirteen concerts were broadcast on television - by the BBC from the Proms, Arte from Warsaw and PBS from the Kennedy Center, Washington - and concerts in France and Germany were broadcast on radio. The orchestra’s journey was followed in a prime time BBC documentary, presented by Clive Myrie, and there was extensive feature coverage in newspapers all over the world including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Times, le Monde, Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and many others. Television news coverage of the orchestra included NBC Evening News, CNN, BBC, NOS and more,
Sponsors include Bloomberg Philanthropies.The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra tour is managed by the Polish National Opera with Askonas Holt, one of the world’s leading management agencies, acting as booking agency. Money raised from the tour will go to support Ukrainian artists. Donations can be made to the Ministry of Culture at https://restore.mkip.gov.ua/.
Maestro Keri-Lynn Wilson is the founding conductor and music director of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. Her international career includes working with leading orchestras, such as the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the NDR Hanover Orchestra, the Bruckner Linz Orchestra and the NHK Symphony, and conducting at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including the Royal Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, the Paris Opera, and the Vienna State Opera. Ms. Wilson received a nomination for conductor of the year from the Opus Klassik 2020 awards for her recording of Rossini’s Sigismondo with the Bayerische Rundfunk.
The Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov, winner of the George Enescu International Violin Competition in Bucharest, is one of the outstanding artists of his generation. Working regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, Mr. Sokolov regularly performs in major concert halls around the world.
COMPLETE CONCERT ITINERARY
• 20 August: Polish National Opera, Teatr Wielki, Warsaw, 19:00 LINK
• 22 August: Polish Baltic F. Chopin Philharmonic, Gdańsk, 19:00
• 24 August: Kastellanwiese at Schloss Schönhausen, Berlin, 19:30
• 27 August: Lucerne Festival, 11:00 LINK
• 28 August: Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 20:00 LINK
• 30 August: Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, 20:00 LINK
• 2 September: Snape Maltings, Snape, UK, 19:30 LINK
• 3 September, Barbican Centre, London, 14:00 LINK