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Ukrainian National Orchestra to Perform at Houghton University on February 1

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Houghton University will host the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine for a concert on the Western New York campus on Wednesday, February 1. The orchestra is led by principal conductor Theodore Kuchar, who joined the faculty of Houghton’s Greatbatch School of Music in fall of 2022 as the professor of orchestral conducting. Tickets are available to the public as part of the University’s annual Kindschi Faith & Justice Symposium.

“The possibility of presenting the Lviv Orchestra at Houghton as a part of this 40 concert U.S. tour was largely a dream,” said Kuchar. “As many of the orchestra members are of a similar age to much of the student body at Houghton, it is my hope that there will exist the possibility of personal interaction, especially with the cruel and largely unimaginable existence today encountered by all Ukrainians as a result of the barbaric onslaught by Vladimir Putin and the Russian nation.”

Part of the world-renowned orchestra’s 40-stop tour, the concert will feature Ukrainian composer Yevhen Stankovych’s Chamber Symphony No. 3, Ukrainian virtuoso Vladyslava Luchenko performing the Brahms Violin Concerto and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.” Under Kuchar’s leadership, the Lviv orchestra completed highly acclaimed recordings for major international labels including Naxos, Toccata Classics and Brilliant Classics. Over the years, they have also toured extensively around the world, including Poland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and The People’s Republic of China.

“We are honored to welcome the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra to Houghton University and to Western New York,” said Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., president of Houghton University. “They come at a moment in world history to never be forgotten as the Ukranian people defend their families and their nation against the atrocities of the Russian army in the most significant conflict on the European continent since World War II. In addition to the cultural gifts the orchestra will bring to Houghton, their presence will allow our students and community to faithfully consider our role and the role of the church in responding to war, conflict and humanitarian crises.”

Presented as part of the Kindschi Faith & Justice Symposium at Houghton, this concert represents the latest opportunity for students and the surrounding community to explore how faith engages with complex challenges. “This year’s theme, ‘War and Conflict,’ is particularly relevant given the crisis in Ukraine but also the ongoing conflicts in numerous other countries,” said Brian Webb, director of the Center for Faith, Justice and Global Engagement and assistant professor of sustainability. “This year’s symposium will feature stories of grace, hospitality and peacemaking as we discuss how the Church can be a sanctuary amidst these crises.”

During the symposium, Kuchar will also lead a workshop, “A Pointless War – Ukraine’s 500 Years of Dodging Bullets.

“The Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton is truly one of the glories of the University, a facility that many of the most prestigious music schools in this country could only dream of,” continued Kuchar. “The faculty and staff represent the truest examples of goodwill and comradery, and the student body is certainly a model of diligence, respect and artistic focus. One of the most essential aspects in the development of any young professional is a regular exposure to and understanding of the artistic standards and expectations that await in the next phase of development. To hear an acclaimed symphony orchestra and highly distinguished violin soloist certainly helps to clarify and establish a clearer understanding of this competitive profession.”

Tickets and more information are available on Houghton’s website at houghton.edu/Ukraine.

About the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine

The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, based in the medieval city of Lviv, was officially established on September 27, 1902. On that day, the first concert of the newly formed orchestra took place in the Philharmonic Theater of Count Stanislav Skarbko (presently known as the Ukrainian National Academic Theater of Drama named after Maria Zankovetska). During the first season, the orchestra performed nearly 115 concerts, and the total number of audience members exceeded 115,000. In 1933, the orchestra became incorporated as the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine. According to the announcements at the time, the “inaugural” symphony concert of the newly formed National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine took place on November 20, 1933. Adam Soltys led the orchestra, taking on the combined the duties of director and artistic director in the first season. He remained with the orchestra until 1938. During this period, the orchestra collaborated with prominent composers Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok, and Karol Szymanowski and soloists Anton Rubinstein, Ferruccio Busoni, Wanda Landowska, Leopold Godowski, Jacob Milstein, Eugene Ysaye, Pablo Corvadam-Szymanowska among many others.

About Houghton University

Houghton University is a nationally ranked Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences and the best-priced Christian college in the nation. With an enrollment of nearly 1,000 students, Houghton has equipped graduates for lifelong success since 1883 through customizable programs offered in Houghton and Buffalo, N.Y., and online. The University offers more than 50 undergraduate in-person and online programs, including equestrian studies, data science and biological sciences, as well as graduate programs in business, education and music. For more information, please visit www.houghton.edu

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