The Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in 2018.

“The Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (YsOU) was founded in 2016 with support from German musical institutions and under the artistic direction of the conductor Oksana Lyniv,” writes Jeffrey Arlo Brown in Thursday’s (3/3) Van magazine (Berlin). “The ensemble has toured in Germany, Austria, Croatia, and other countries, and planned its first all-Ukrainian tour for summer 2022. The Russian invasion put a violent end to these plans. I spoke with four teenage musicians from the orchestra … and the orchestral manager, Alexandra Zaytseva [currently in Germany], about the situation on the ground and the small consolations of music in a state of high alert. Alexandra Zaytseva: I’m in constant contact with our young musicians. We talk maybe ten times a day, to make sure nobody is hurt…. I’ve been … trying to stay in contact with the orchestra and with my family in Kyiv…. We see our orchestra as a family.… In August 2021 we played in Mariupol. It’s almost completely in ruins now…. I’m proud of our musicians who take their instruments to the shelters. They are trying to practice. I know that music stays with us, and we stay with music. But now it’s hard to express anything in music, because we also have no words to describe what has happened.”