The Berliner Philharmoniker has announced a change of venue for this year’s ‘European Concert’. The concert was originally scheduled to take place in Odesa, Ukraine. As the concert cannot be held due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the venue will be changed to the ‘Great Amber Concert Hall’ in Liepāja, a city on the Baltic Sea coast of western Latvia.
The Berlin Philharmonic’s ‘European Concerts’ were founded in 1991 on the idea of Claudio Abbado, who succeeded Herbert von Karajan as chief conductor and artistic director. It has been held annually on 1 May, the anniversary of the orchestra’s foundation, in halls and historical buildings across Europe.
As well as the change of venue, the programme was also changed. They want to show solidarity with Ukraine by featuring Elegy for string orchestra by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, “Musica Dolorosa” by Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks and “Finlandia” by Sibelius.
The concert will also feature Elīna Garanča, a mezzo-soprano from Latvia, which, like Ukraine, gained independence from the former Soviet Union. She will sing a piece for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, “Folk Songs”, composed by Berio. The concert is conducted by chief conductor Kirill Petrenko.
She was quick to protest against the invasion by announcing on her Facebook page on 28 February, just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, that she would not perform in Russia in the future.
…… Garanča’s Post
Dear friends – this is to inform you that last Thursday, on the first day of attack on Ukraine, I have withdrawn completely from any future concerts in Russia.
I find it irresponsible and highly immoral to have my name associated with any events in a country that has decided in the light of the criminal war waged by the Russian regime against the democratic and independent nation of Ukraine, and against the European open society as a whole.
I can not support people who support Putin and his regime even if they are trapped in not being able to give an open and honest statement. But being a Latvian, knowing what invasion and occupation is, me being a mother and teaching my children the meaning of morality, I stand with my voice for freedom and independence of Ukraine!
War is NO solution!
Music indeed has to unite, and what would the world be without cultural exchanges between each other, but, as history has shown, we can and should be able to choose which political leaders’ ideology to follow!
My heart breaks for Ukraine and my Ukrainian colleagues! NO to war in Ukraine! 💙💛
Photo：Great Amber-Konzerthalle / Karlis Volkovskis