Kennedy Center hosts Ukraine benefit with Joshua Bell, New Era Orchestra of Kyiv

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the 'Benefit Concert for Ukraine' (Part 1)

The New Era Orchestra of Kyiv has been scattered across the globe since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. This month, they’ll reunite at the Kennedy Center alongside world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell for the “Benefit Concert for Ukraine” on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

“This concert represents their reunion,” organizer Alexa Chopivsky told WTOP.

The members of the orchestra will be in Kraków, Poland, for several days for what Chopivsky called a “rehearsal boot camp,” before they make their U.S. debut at the Kennedy Center.

“The mission is to raise funds and awareness for Ukraine at this critical moment in the country’s history,” Chopivsky said.

Not only is the concert for a vital cause, but you’ll get to hear some the world’s most acclaimed musicians. Bell is “the most celebrated violinist of our era,” Chopivsky said. “He has generously donated his concert fee, as has Ukraine’s New Era Orchestra for this cause.”

Conducting the concert is Artistic Director Tatiana Kalinichenko, who founded the orchestra 15 years ago.

“She has just, up-from-the-bootstraps, thrown her heart and soul into this,” Chopivsky said. “They really are ‘new era.’ Not a musician is over the age of 42 years old, so it’s the new Ukraine, it’s the new generation and they are bursting with talent.”

The group will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92.” They will also perform “Evening Serenade from Silent Music,” by Ukraine’s greatest living composer, Valentyn Silvestrov, and the late Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk’s “Melody.” After a brief intermission, Bell will perform Max Bruch’s “Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26.”

Tickets to the benefit concert range from $79 to $125. Funds will be donated to UNITED24, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy established in May as the vehicle for global charitable donations. This concert specifically funds humanitarian, medical and reconstruction work at a time when the stakes could not be any higher.

“Putin has been fighting a civilizational battle against the West for the past 20 years, both hot war in Georgia, and hybrid war through cyber, election interference and financing candidates,” Chopivsky said.

“When democracy wins in one country, it wins all over the world. When freedom is defended in one country, it is defended all over the world.”

Find more information about the concern on the Kennedy Center website.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the 'Benefit Concert for Ukraine' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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