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Lviv Orchestra of Ukraine performs at Radford University as part of U.S. tour

Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine
Roxy Todd
Radio IQ
The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine rehearsing before a performance at Radford University

The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine performed Tuesday night at Radford University, part of a two-month 40 concert tour across the United States.

The tour was planned before the Russian invasion, but the war abroad was on the minds of the musicians, said Principal Conductor Theodore Kuchar. “I know that many of them are very distracted with what’s going on at home.”

Kuchar said every musician in the orchestra knows someone who’s been killed or wounded in the war and many check in several times a day with their family back home. “Whether it’s their 5-year-old daughter, whether it’s their handicapped elderly parents.”

Kuchar said some even feel a sense of guilt. “That they are here, off the hook, of what’s actually going on back home. But within two weeks, they are going to go right back to it. And nobody knows what the immediate future has in store.”

The orchestra began their tour last month in Florida. Kuchar, who is Ukrainian-American and has traveled the world as a conductor, said the responses from audiences have been unlike anything he’s seen before.

“What amazed me from the first performance, as soon as the orchestra started walking on stage, the public was on its feet,” Kuchar said. “They had Ukrainian flags in their lapels and in their pockets. They were waving them.”

Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine
Photo courtesy of Cami Music
The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine at a previous performance in 2022

At Radford, they performed three works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Max Bruch and Ukrainian composer, Yevhen Stankovych.

“To have an orchestra of their caliber that’s getting to tour the U.S— that’s a really great experience for the students and our community here in Radford,” said Stephanie Caulder, Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Radford University.

The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine will perform several more times over the next two weeks, in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Roxy Todd is Radio IQ's New River Valley Bureau Chief.