Perth Concert Hall is joining forces with 16 other major concert venues around the UK to support Ukraine’s premier symphony orchestra next year.

The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (NSOU) is recognised as one of the finest symphony orchestras in Eastern Europe and has announced it will return to the UK for the first time in over 20 years next autumn, with a rich programme featuring Ukrainian composer Lyatoshynsky’s Grazhyna Symphonic Picture, Sibelius’ Finlandia, and Strauss’ Don Juan.

Tickets go on sale from Wednesday 19 October 2022 across the 17 venues supporting the tour. The NSOU will be performing at Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 28 October 2023.

Tour promoters IMG Artists and the 17 venues are keen to show their support for music and culture in Ukraine and are working together to ensure the tour is a sell-out success.

Alexander Hornostai, NSOU managing director and producer, says: “The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine has been an important part of the country’s culture for over 100 years, and we have been performing and rehearsing in Kiev since we were first established in 1918. Whilst this war has had a dramatic impact on Ukrainian lives, we took the decision early on that we had an important role to play in continuing to perform, in order to protect and showcase Ukrainian musical culture and show that there is more to our country than just the conflict.

“We are deeply grateful to the UK venues and tour promoters who are working with us to ensure this ambitious tour happens. We can’t wait to return to the UK after more than two decades and have the opportunity to perform to UK audiences all over the country.”

The NSOU initially put their plans on hold when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, and then resumed rehearsals and performances two months later, at the end of April, in their usual location at the Lysenko Column Concert Hall in Kyiv. Most of the 98 NSOU members have remained in Kyiv, and with all men in Ukraine aged 18–60 conscripted to fight, two male members of the orchestra are currently conscripted to the Ukraine military.

The NSOU’s recent performances have included several summer concerts in the Lysenko Column Hall. Ticket capacity is now limited to around 150 people, because only 200 people can fit in the air raid shelter under the building. When the air alarm goes off, the audience, orchestra members and building staff move to the shelter, where the violinists play Bach sonatas and other music to the audience while they wait until it’s safe to come out.

The orchestra’s performance at Perth Concert Hall will include specially selected pieces by Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshynsky (1895–1968), whose works the NSOU have premiered in the past. Lyatoshynksy’s works are considered extremely accessible, exciting, and well-liked by audiences.

Another unique element of the UK 2023 tour is that, in addition to providing a UK-wide platform for the orchestra to perform, it is also fundraising to support the NSOU and the continuation of Ukraine’s rich musical culture during this conflict. A Just Giving appeal with a target of £24,000 has been set up by the tour promoters, IMG Artists, and is being promoted by all 17 concert venues. All proceeds will be donated directly to the orchestra at the end of their tour.

Click here for tickets and information.

Friday 21 October 2022