The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine at Kyiv’s Lysenko Column Concert Hall. Photo courtesy of National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.

In Monday’s (10/16) Classical Music (U.K.), Owen Mortimer writes, “Amidst the din of war, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (NSOU) has spent recent weeks valiantly rehearsing for its first tour of the UK since 2001. ‘The biggest challenge we have faced is from air alarms interrupting our rehearsals,’ says the orchestra’s managing director and producer, Alexander Hornostai. ‘There are several alarms per day, and we have to take shelter every time.’ Such courage has characterized the NSOU since its formation in 1918 at the height of the Ukrainian-Soviet War … Shortly after the end of that conflict in 1921, Ukraine was subsumed into the USSR and the NSOU fell under the jurisdiction of the Soviet People’s Commissariat of Education…. The NSOU briefly suspended operations when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, but resumed rehearsals and performances two months later. The orchestra is based at Kyiv’s Lysenko Column Concert Hall, where concert audiences are restricted to just 150 people so that when performances are interrupted by air raid sirens, the audience, orchestra members and building staff can move underground to the Hall’s 200-person air raid shelter. The NSOU’s UK tour opens on 17 October and runs for three weeks, visiting 17 venues.”