The Fairfield Halls will stage one of the gala concerts in next year’s UK tour by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, it has been announced.
Croydon’s arts centre will be one of 17 venues in the tour, the first visit to this country by NSOU in 20 years. The Fairfield Halls will host the second concert, on Wednesday October 18 2023. Ticket prices start from £45.50 and have gone on sale today.
The tour is the biggest in the history of the orchestra, which dates back to 1918, and is intended to reflect audiences’ new-found interest in Ukrainian culture since the Russian invasion in February this year. Other venues on the tour include Cadogan Hall, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Usher Hall in Edinburgh and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
During the three-week tour, the orchestra will play works by Ukrainian composers such as Borys Lyatoshynsky alongside classical greats such as Finland’s Jean Sibelius and Germany’s Richard Strauss. No Russian music will be played.
With conscription in place for all men in Ukraine aged between 18 and 60 since the invasion, two male members of the 98-strong orchestra are currently serving in their national military.
Alexander Hornostai, the Kyiv-based NSOU’s managing director, said, “While 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.”
This evening, the Fairfield Halls said that the NSOU’s concert “will be an important cornerstone” of Croydon’s 2023 Borough of Culture programme.
After initially pausing rehearsals and performances after the invasion, the NSOU returned to their usual venue, the Lysenko Column Concert Hall in Kyiv, giving performances, but to an audience restricted to just 150 – the concert hall’s air raid shelter under the building can only accommodate 200 people. When the air raid siren 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 for the all-clear.
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.
For more information about the tour including where to buy tickets, visit fairfield.co.uk with ticket prices from £45.50.
To donate to the JustGiving appeal, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nsou-tour-2023
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