Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

How it happened...

Ukrainian tour of a famous American
25 November, 2015 - 17:45
Photo courtesy of New Era Orchestra’s management

The walls of the Kyiv Philharmonic Society’s cozy hall are permeated with music. If they could talk, even 1,001 nights would not be enough to tell all the amazing stories about fantastic conductors, musicians, composers, singers. The posters that announce concerts featured names of world and Ukrainian stars, whose art astounded generation after generation of grateful listeners in all parts of the world. The concert of Joshua Bell, considered by many of the world’s leading media to be the No.1 violinist among the younger generation, was the super-event for Ukraine’s music aficionados.

This event was made possible not only through the good will of the musician himself, who agreed to come despite his tight schedule extending years into the future, and not only thanks to the efforts of the Embassy of the US in Ukraine and Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt’s direct participation in the organization of the tour; all of them, just as many other patrons, who lent their aid to this project, were “infected” with enthusiasm for it by young conductor Tetiana Kalinichenko. New Era Orchestra, which she has been founding art director of since 2007, has not only popularized academic music, often little known or forgotten in Ukraine, but also actively integrated our country into the international music space.

This time as well, the concert program was compiled from the works by composers of different periods, who ascribed to different styles and enjoyed varying degrees of fame – from Norbert Burgmueller, Karl Weber, and Camille Saint-Saens to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

It was the latter’s Violin Concerto that Bell performed, unveiling new features of the piece in the process. He was able to do so through his virtuoso technique, deep immersion into semantic semitones of the work, his extraordinary charm as artist and his excellent instrument, which Bell values greatly and is very proud of, for it is a Stradivari violin.

“This violin,” the musician said about his instrument, “is special in many regards. I am awed when I think how many wonderful people held it in their hands or listened to it. When playing in Israel, with their Philharmonic Orchestra, I always think how many of those present are direct descendants of those musicians who were rescued by Bronislaw Huberman from certain death in the gas chambers, as he raised money at concerts where he performed with the same instrument that is now in my hands. It is daily experience. Who knows how many adventures this violin will see in the future? People undoubtedly will admire its sounds long after I am dead. But as long as I am here, I will keep thinking I have fantastic luck to be its guardian. Furthermore, I am happy to come to Ukraine for the first time today and present my gift of music to you...”

It was an unforgettable evening. It should be added that it was preceded by difficult negotiations that took 2.5 years, but ultimately succeeded thanks to private initiative.