2.09.2023 - 3.09.2023 Events, Music

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra European Tour, 2nd-3rd Sept UK

Two UK concerts of the Ukraine Freedom Orchestra, in London and Suffolk, as part of the orchestra's European Tour.

2nd & 3rd September, Locations: Snape Suffolk & London

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 UFO was formed in 2022 by conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson in collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera and Polish National Opera. Composed of refugees, Ukrainian members of European orchestras and some of the top musicians from across Ukraine, the orchestra is at the forefront of the fight to defend the nation’s cultural legacy. 

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 tour starts with two concerts in Poland, in Warsaw and Gdańsk, and will take the orchestra to Europe’s most important music venues, concluding in the Barbican in London. The ensemble will mark Ukrainian Independence Day, 24th of August, with a special open-air concert in Berlin. 

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.

UK Concerts

The orchestra’s two UK concerts will take place in Snape Maltings on the 2nd of September 2023 and the Barbican in London on the 3rd of September 2023, the latter being the final concert in the orchestr’as European Tour. More details below:

Saturday 2nd September 2023, 19:30, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Suffolk

This new programme centres on Beethoven’s towering Eroica Symphony, “a revolutionary work provoked by both personal crisis and geopolitical turmoil” (Houston Symphony), alongside Verdi’s Force of Destiny Overture and two pieces from Ukrainian composers, including Skoryk’s Melody – which is frequently described as the spiritual hymn of Ukraine.

Verdi: Overture to La forza del destino (7’)

Yevhen Stankovych:Violin Concerto No.2 (23’)

Skoryk:Melody in A minor (5’)

Beethoven:Symphony No.3 in E flat, Op.55 ‘Eroica’ (50’)

More information and ticket booking:

Heroic: The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra | Britten Pears Arts

Sunday 3rd September 2023, 14:00, The Barbican London

Art over adversity: the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra returns to London with a programme of music by Ukrainian composers plus one of Beethoven’s most epic symphonies.

More information and ticket booking:

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra/Keri-Lynn Wilson | Barbican

More about Ukraine Freedom Orchestra

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 organisational 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.

‘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 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 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/.

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