New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
More than 50 pianists from nine countries are coming together virtually on April 23 in a concert to benefit the Global Giving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. The prerecorded livestream concert will feature music of 11 Ukrainian composers, recorded by each performer from their homes.
The marathon concert, under the direction of Polly van der Linde, owner and director of Sonatina Piano Camps, will feature the works of Vasyl Barvinsky, Isaak Berkovich, Sergei Bortkiewicz, Reinhold Glière, Nikolai Kapustin, Viktor Kosenko, Mikola Lysenko, Boris
Lyatoshynsky, Samuil Maykapar, and Valentin Silvestrov, as well as the Ukrainian National
Anthem, composed by Mykhailo Verbytsky.
An Overwhelming Response
"I couldn't sit still and let the world be so dark. I put out a call to the adult amateur pianists who attend our Piano Camps to see if they'd be interested in learning Ukrainian music," said van der Linde.
"I was overwhelmed by how many people wanted to help in this way—we could have added even more players, but we didn't want the concert to be too long," she noted. "There's a wide range of playing skills, but it doesn't matter. We all love this music, and we all want to help the people of Ukraine through this terrible time by sharing these musical gems and collecting donations.
"Music has the ability to move us not only physically, but emotionally. What better way to help than to play beautiful music by Ukrainian composers while generating donations for humanitarian relief?"
The performers, ranging in age from 16 to 92, have either attended or served as faculty at the camps in Old Bennington, VT. Van der Linde hand-selected the pieces to ensure each performer was matched with a piece they could learn and perform well. Some performers are beginners who will be playing short, simple pieces; others are more advanced. Several professionals will also be joining the effort.
Among the professionals participating is Sonatina alum Mackenzie Melemed, recently named a recipient of a 2022 Avery Fisher
Career Grant. Melemed was the only pianist recognized for the grant this year.
"We couldn't find an appropriate piano arrangement of the Ukrainian national anthem—so I created my own: "Slava Ukraine!" Melemed said.
Ben Wolfson, who spent five summers at Sonatina camp, is the youngest participant in the concert. His father, Boris, a professor of Russian at Amherst College in Massachusetts, will also be participating. Boris
was born in Crimea, where he took piano lessons as a child.
"Much of the music being played isn't very well known—even by many people in Ukraine." Boris
Wolfson added. "This is a project that helps recover a culture under threat and gives voice to poignant, authentic, powerful melodies that say more than we could ever put into words.
"The idea of people reaching out across miles and generations to offer this connection is extremely powerful," Wolfson said. "We can't stop the bombs with this music, but we can stretch our souls across the ocean and try to reach those who are in pain."
Recorded Concert Streams on April 23rd.
The concert will begin at 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 23, and is expected to last about six hours. Viewers are welcome to join at any time. The entire performance will be available for viewing on an archived web page after April 25.
Donations of $30 to $250 or more are encouraged. All proceeds will go to Ukraine humanitarian relief.
For information, go to: https://sonatina.aweb.page/ukraine-benefit-concert
To make donations, go to: https://www.globalgiving.org/fundraisers/ukraine-benefit-piano-concert/
Sonatina Piano Camps was founded in Old Bennington, VT in 1969, when Rosamond and Rein van der Linde couldn't find a summer piano camp for their children and decided to create their own instead. It has since grown to encompass live-in piano camp experiences for both children and adults throughout the year, remote lessons, and virtual camps through the pandemic. The camp has been profiled in Noah Adams' book Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures, in The New York Times, on CNN, and in many other publications. Today, the van der Linde's daughter Polly, and grandson Taylor continue to welcome pianists from 7 to 92 for an immersive and unforgettable piano experience.