Douglas Droste, artistic director of Indiana’s Muncie Symphony Orchestra, and jazz violinist Christian Howes recently performed in Lviv, Ukraine at the invitation of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy. Droste and Howes—both Ohio natives—performed Scott Routenberg’s Concerto for Jazz Violin on June 21 at Lviv Philharmonic Conert Hall with the INSO-Lviv Academic Symphony Orchestra. Also on the program was Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony and Bernstein’s Candide Overture. The invitation to Ukraine came after embassy staff members saw an online video of a performance in Muncie. The musicians spent six days in Lviv and Kyiv during the cultural exchange for rehearsals, performances, and workshops. Howes taught improvisation workshops to string players, and Drose led a conducting masterclass with four young Ukrainian conductors. U.S. Embassy Cultural Attache Andrew Paul said on June 21 that it was important to continue American “cultural diplomacy in Ukraine during this time of crisis.” Said Droste, “It was all about promoting U.S. goodwill, supporting the U.S. Embassy’s peaceful mission.”

Posted August 5, 2014