Euromaidan revolution now commemorated in symphonic piece by American composer

2015/12/28 • Culture, News

I wrote “In Memoriam: Maidan” in the spring of 2015 to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom, opportunity, justice and as Abraham Lincoln said, “government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people.” -Matthew Brown, composer

Matthew Brown. Courtesy photo

Matthew Brown. Photo: Andrii Orlovskyi

The American composer Matthew Brown has written a symphonic piece to commemorate the Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution. It premiered at the International Conductor’s Festival in Kyiv in 13 June of 2015.

“I feel a very strong connection with Ukraine, and a deep love for the city of Kyiv,” Mr.Brown told Euromaidan Press. Mr.Brown is Co-Director at The International Conductors Festival, a classical music festival that has been held in Kyiv’s National House of Organ and Chamber Music nearly every summer since 2007.

I deeply admired the bravery and conviction of the people united there in the face of such brutality and corruption.

“I have close friends in Kyiv, both musicians in the orchestra, and people we have met in various ways over the years, and I have gotten to know the city quite well. I have strolled along Khreschatyk holding hands with my lover, captivated by what a beautiful and vibrant place it is. I was at Maidan Square in 2008 for the Paul McCartney concert, shouting with what seemed like a million Ukrainians “Yes-ter-day! Yes-ter-day!” I have gone to concerts at the Philharmonic, the Opera House, the Ivan Franko Drama Theater and even the Art-Club 44. Nearly every day I fill my belly with so much delicious food at Puzata Hata for lunch. Every year we grill shashlik on the beach and swim in the Dnipro River under the moon, and every year my time in Kyiv fills me with nostalgia, warmth and some of the deepest joy I have ever known in my life.

“Reading about, and seeing images of the Maidan Revolution was very emotional for me, as it was for many people in the West. I followed all the events very closely, and stayed in close contact with my friends there via email, several of whom were encamped themselves at Maidan. I wanted very much to be there myself to be a part of it, and I deeply admired the bravery and conviction of the people united there in the face of such brutality and corruption.

“While I was not able to be there physically, I wanted to somehow be there in spirit, and so I sat down at the piano and began to play whatever came to me,” Mr.Brown told.

The result is a 8-minute long piece for the symphonic orchestra, performed by the Lyatoshinsky ensemble, which Mr.Brown directed himself at its premiere in Kyiv. The Ukrainian anthem, which at the start of the protests sounded every hour from Maidan’s stage and was sung so often by the protesters, plays a central role in the piece. Fragments of the anthem are introduced early in the piece and lead to a climax which, according to the composer, represents the peaceful crowd at Maidan growing larger and larger. This is followed by a section at 5:15, which for him depicts both the resolve of the Ukrainian people and also millions in the western world watching and hoping for peace, stability and freedom in Ukraine. The further tells about the long and on-going struggle that Ukraine faces in the east of the country and ends in a final statement of solidarity and support for the Ukrainian People.

The International Conductors Festival  is an annual two-week festival of classical music that brings together young and emerging conductors from around the world to get valuable experience leading a professional orchestra in rehearsals and performances, all of which are with the Lyatoshinsky Ensemble at Ukraine’s National House of Organ and Chamber Music. Different conductors come each year, but also many conductors come repeatedly because of their positive experiences. Find out more at the festival’s site and fb page.

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