04/05/2022 Juliana Széchenyi

Charity concerts by young Ukrainian musicians

Young Ukrainian musicians came to Slovenia at the beginning of March, hoping to continue their studies and performances here. This week, on 5 May, they will open Europe Week with a concert, and on 11 May they will give an even bigger performance at Cankarjev dom to raise funds to help people from Ukraine.

"They have made it very clear that this is their way of thanking the Slovenian public, who take such good care of them. They are very grateful to be able to do what they enjoy most here, and that is music," says the artistic director and conductor Slovenian Youth Orchestra Živa Ploj Peršuh, which coordinated the relocation of members Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine to Ljubljana. In March, a call for help for Ukrainian musicians was answered by Slovenian Youth Orchestrawhich helped evacuate 67 children and their families from the war to Slovenia in the first phase, and today hosts a total of 110 young musicians and 30 parents or chaperones.

Members of both Slovenian and Ukrainian orchestras are currently working on an artistic-donor project Music for the Future: Ukraine, Slovenia, EU, where they try to give young people the opportunity to develop their musical talents and alleviate their living conditions. Currently, there are more than 70 Ukrainians in the symphony orchestra, the youngest of whom is seven years old. They communicate with each other in every language imaginable. A little Slovene, English, Croatian, even German, but if not, they use Google Translate. "As soon as there is music in the conversation, they talk more than otherwise. In the orchestra, they communicate through music, which is a good connecting tool. Otherwise they are reserved, but ours are not much different," explains Ploj-Peršuhova. For the charity concert in the Gallus Hall, they have teamed up with UNICEF Slovenia and will be honoured by a very special guest. "We will be supported by the famous Gidon Kremer, one of the most famous violinists in the world. We are extremely honoured that he has accepted our invitation to share the stage with the young people and show his support in this way." < Grateful to be here The young Ukrainians have already given several performances here. For example at the Arsana International Music Festival in Ptuj, in Mali Street in Ljubljana, at many Lions Club events and at the Presidential Palace. "We take advantage of the opportunities they will have, both musically and personally," she explains.

Every day they are full of questions about the future. They would like to go back home, to their old life, to their music schools. The older students are currently dealing with the possibility of applying to a music academy and getting the documents, which is quite complicated. For younger schoolchildren, the big stress is online classes, because schools in some Ukrainian cities still organise classes, but their timetable is constantly changing because of the war. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. "Some people share with us their concerns and news, which can be extremely bad. Others prefer to be alone with them. Otherwise, they accept life as it is and are very grateful to be here. They look forward to the musical activities here, they are very engaged, but at the same time they keep all their other commitments and concerns in the back of their minds," he explains. Živa Ploj Peršuh.

Music evens out differences
Young Ukrainians really like Slovenia. They are also quite independent, according to the conductor. They know how to take buses and trains to different locations on their own. For example, from the centre of Ljubljana to Šentvid or Domžale to the music school. Some have signed up for Bicikelj and cycle to rehearsals in Ljubljana. "What they enjoy most is being able to play and practise. We've given them all sorts of things to do, from learning Slovenian to individual rehearsals, we've set up computers so they can connect to online classes." With the concert on n May, they also want to show the effectiveness of integration through music, says Ploj-Peršuhova. "We want to show Europe an example of our good practice. Music is healing. Art speaks directly to people. It has a powerful unifying moment, like a patch on the soul. Music can very quickly draw people together, even in the most banal things. From breathing the same way to feeling the same way, having the same atmosphere. On a multicultural level, it evens out all kinds of differences, ethnic, religious and social."


Medium: Dnevnik.si
Authors Tadeja Lukanc
Date: Wed 4 May 2022