Witness the heart-warming moment when 94 violinists play to show their support for a Ukrainian musician trapped in a bomb shelter in Kyiv. For the people of Ukraine, Russia's invasion of their home must be a terribly frightening and often lonely experience. However, even in the midst of all the destruction, there are still beautiful examples of solidarity and togetherness.
Violinist Illia Bondarenko is currently living in a bomb shelter, subject to constant nearby explosions. His plight and that of other Ukrainian musicians touched the heart of Kerenza Peacock, a British violinist. She reached out to him and other violinists from famous orchestras around the world. Her intention was to create "an international violin choir of support" for all those living in shelters across Ukraine.
She reached out to musicians across Ukraine using Instagram. She asked each of them to record a violin performance and send it to her. Once they were all received, she edited the whole performance with those from performers with the London and Tokyo Symphonies and Oslo Philharmonic. The result was both beautiful and incredibly poignant.
The video starts with Illia, playing within the shelter. He had to record between the explosions outside as when they occured he couldn't hear himself. Fittingly, he plays Verbovaya Doschechka, a Ukrainian folk song. The video then pulls back, and nine other young musicians across Ukraine join him. As the video continues, more and more faces appear, their music adding a moving harmony.
Eventually, there are 94 musicians from all across the world playing to show their support. The performance was an expression of hope and support from musicians from the UK, USA, Germany, Belgium, Norway, South Africa, The Netherlands, India and Japan. "The violin has traditionally been an instrument through which to express grief", explains Kerenza, "One Ukrainian violinist told me that as she was playing this, her brothers were heading off to fight."
In response to this video, many people have reached out to the people of Ukraine. Footballer Gary Lineker shared the video, and composer and conductor Crispin Ward stated, "Any Ukrainian university aged music students who are fleeing the war and want to continue their music education should know that we at the University of Chichester Conservatoire would be pleased to try and take as many as we can for free. DM me". Let's hope peace returns to Ukraine soon.