Concerts to promote solidarity with Ukraine at Varna Summer Music Festival
9 Oct 2022
Varna Summer Festival is a long-standing international forum for music and art. Within the frames of the festival, and with the support of European Cultural Foundation, the festival featured two concerts that promoted solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their June 2022 programme. Leading musicians from 16 countries presented a variety of musical pieces in collaboration with Bulgarian and Ukrainian symphony orchestras.
The mission of these concerts was to speak for peace and understanding between different nations and religions. Strong artistic collaboration among musicians from different countries expressed support for Ukraine’s music society, ensuring a strong sense of togetherness, mutual understanding and acquaintance.
The geographical location of Varna (Bulgaria) on the Black Sea coast makes the city a ‘natural’ participant in this crisis. Varna is one of the gates of the Ukrainian people to Europe in search of salvation and peace. Since the beginning of the military conflict, Varna has welcomed and assisted more than 20.000 Ukraine refugees in a special centre for this purpose in Varna’s Palace of Culture and Sport.
An International Festival
The festival gathered leading orchestra musicians from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Austria, Slovakia, Serbia, Turkey, Republic of North Macedonia, Spain, Finland, Moldova, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel, Great Britain and China. They played together as one voice for peace at Varna Summer Festival.
The program consisted of symphony works based on Orthodox, Buddhist and Chassidic Chants. Some notable participants include the violinist Julide Yalcin, who performed the famous Bulgarian piece ‘Sevdana’ by Georgi Zlatev–Cherkin; soloist Shmuel Barzilai, Chief Israeli Cantor Vienna; and conductors Maestro Jin Wang and Alexander Gordon.
The festival invited nine musicians from the Kyiv National Philharmonic Orchestra to participate in both concerts. The orchestra was led by Mykola Diadiura— one of the most prominent conductors in Ukraine. The orchestra also played the piece ‘Silent Music’ by the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.
Additionally a special concert named ‘A Concert for Peace’ featured a new piece by the well-known Ukrainian composer Alexander Rodin. Rodin is a member of the National Union of Composers of Ukraine.
Music for Peace
‘The war in Ukraine is an unprecedented case of violence, and culture cannot stay silent,’ state the festival organisers in our interview with them. ‘Varna Summer Festival is a long-standing established international forum of music art. We decided to use its strong position and wide influence on the audience and the media to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and to create a feeling of mutual comprehension for the need for emergent peace.’
‘The mission of the concerts was to speak for peace and understanding between different nations and religions. Musicians from many different countries and orchestras came together for the first time on the festival stage and congress centre. Together, they became one united international festival orchestra to play for world peace.’
‘The main target group of our project were not only the participating Ukrainian artists and the Ukrainian refugees coming to Varna, but also all citizens and guests of our city to feel and to understand through music the need for mutual understanding and solidarity between people. The Ukrainian people in Varna were invited to be part of the audience. We hope that they felt our support. We believe that the long-standing audience of the festival was emotionally affected by the artistic expression of the Ukrainian musicians, and the events raised the overall awareness about the harsh reality of the war.’
Time of Solidarity
When asked to reflect on the notion of a ‘culture of solidarity,’ the festival organisers tell us: ‘Culture of Solidarity should not be just an expression in our days. It is a necessity. ”Culture for solidarity” and “culture of solidarity” are interrelated, but the second one is what our society really needs as a long-term effect of our actions and a new mindset. “Culture of solidarity” is acceptance and peace.’
To quote the poignant words of Varna Summer Music Festival’s artistic director, Maestro Mario Hossen, ‘The need for culture and reasonable actions determines the profile of the society in which we live. The music festival community builds bridges between people. Festivals are a strong unifying factor and are a particularly important example in our “Time Apart” of people and societies that continue to learn from their historical mistakes.’