by Daniel Hathaway
On Thursday, February 23 at 7pm, the Tri-C Classical Piano Series will deviate from its usual pattern of presenting solo pianists to welcome the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine to the stage of its Metropolitan Campus.
The orchestra will be led by Theodore Kuchar and Carl Topilow. Kuchar, a violist and 1982 graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, became the Principal Guest Conductor of the Ukrainian State Symphony Orchestra in 1992, and was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the ensemble in 1994, when it changed its name to the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. In 2000, he became Conductor Laureate for Life.
The National Symphony, based in Lviv, is currently on an extended 40-concert tour aimed at promoting Ukrainian culture that included a stop at Carnegie Hall (read the New York Times article here). Its first-ever concert in Cleveland, which will feature duo-pianists Emanuela Friscioni and Antonio Pompa-Baldi, marks the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine — almost down to the minute.
In a Zoom conversation earlier this week, Kuchar said he had met for coffee with the American Ambassador to Ukraine last February in Lviv following a performance of the Dvořák Requiem. “I went home late on the 23rd and at about 4:20 the next morning, I heard sounds I had never heard before.” Those turned out to be World War II-era Soviet sirens screaming from atop telephone poles, announcing the Russian invasion. [Read more…]