The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra will perform at this year’s Proms, which returns in full for the first time since 2019.
The classical music festival returns this summer with 84 concerts planned over 8 weeks, as well as the first ever video game Prom. Its line-up includes Hollywood and theatre star Cynthia Erivo, as well as concerts dedicated to Aretha Franklin and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Most significantly, in light of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra are set to perform. The orchestra is made up of Ukrainian refugees as well as Ukrainian players from other European orchestras. Ukraine has granted an exemption for military-aged male players to attend and participate in Proms this year.
Their performance is scheduled for July 31 and conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson said the orchestra would “honour those who have died”.
She also said: “I wanted to bring the best orchestral musicians of Ukraine together, from both inside and outside of their country, in a proud display of artistic unity,” she said in a statement announcing their inaugural tour.
“I think sometimes you can feel rather powerless if you’re involved in the cultural world when a huge event like this war is going on, and this is a marvellous way to support the country and celebrate the power of music to cross divides,” said Prom director David Pickard.
The Royal Albert Hall will once again welcome other international orchestras on its stage with performances from Berliner Philharmoniker and the Australian World Orchestra. Proms will also celebrate the so-called Cinderella instruments, such as the tuba, oboe and harp.
Proms will also highlight and celebrate video games for the first time. Gamers can expect an exploration of the history of video games from the 80s to modern times as well as a premiere from Hildur Guðnadóttir, the Oscar-winning composer behind Joker.
Proms runs from July 15 to September 10, with tickets going on sale May 21.