Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra
European tour inauguration
There are many ways to express solidarity. The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra represents moral support for a nation at war and material assistance for the musicians. The ensemble was assembled in 2022 at the initiative of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. It includes refugees forced to flee their country for safety, Ukrainian members of European orchestras, and musicians of Ukraine-based ensembles. The proceeds from the tour will be used to help struggling artists, yet the symbolic dimension of the endeavour is just as important—the sense of togetherness that music can create.
As last year, the orchestra is led by Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, for whom the job has both artistic and personal significance. The Ukrainian Freedom Tour takes place from 20 August to 3 September. It will start in Poland, then take the orchestra to the most prestigious concert venues in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the UK.
From darkness to light—this is how the concert’s programme could be described in four words. It opens with the Overture to Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, a dreary opera set in a world held hostage by merciless fate. Ukrainian music is not commonplace on concert playbills. Last year it was represented by Valentin Silvestrov; this year the torch is passed on to accomplished composer and educator Yevhen Stankovych, who had studied in Lviv with Polish composer Adam Sołtys and in Kyiv with Boris Lyatoshinsky, the man considered to be the father of contemporary Ukrainian music. The soloist to perform Stankovych’s Violin Concerto No. 2 is Kharkiv-born violinist Valeriy Sokolov, winner of the Study Grant Prize at the International Pablo Sarasate Competition in Pamplona and the Grand Prix of the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, who currently performs with leading international orchestras.
The concert culminates with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony the importance of which is two-fold: it is a work that gave the European Union its anthem and one of the most powerful symbols of brotherhood and peace of our time. Joining in the performance of the Symphony is the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir from Białystok, Poland and young Ukrainian soloists: Olga Kulchynska (soprano), Nicole Chirka (mezzo-soprano), Dmytro Popov (tenor), and Vladyslav Buialskyi (bass-baritone).
La forza del destio – Overture
Violin Concerto No. 2
soloist: Valeriy Sokolov
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 in D minor
soloists: Olga Kulchynska – soprano, Nicole Chirka – mezzo-soprano, Dmytro Popov – tenor, Vladyslav Buialskyi – bass-baritone
Keri-Lynn Wilson – conductor
Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra
Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir in Białystok
Violetta Bielecka – chorus master
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland