The Refugee Orchestra Project, an organisation that partners with local communities to proclaim the cultural and societal relevance of refugees through music, will make its UK debut on 1 September 2019 at LSO St Luke’s, London.
Founded in 2015 by conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya, who also serves as music director of Chicago Opera Theater, the ROP has taken its message of inclusion to hundreds of thousands of listeners around the world via live and streamed performances in New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and at the United Nations. The UK debut concert will raise money for London-based charity Refugee Action.
‘In these divisive times, vocal support of refugees has become critical – and musicians are uniquely well-positioned to address this issue,’ explains Yankovskaya. ‘Our art form crosses linguistic and cultural boundaries, and so much of what we do is rooted in collaboration.’
The evening will feature Belize-born British composer and pianist Errollyn Wallen MBE performing her Concerto Grosso with the orchestra, as well as a piece called Freedom by Afghan composer Milad Yousufi and The Metamorphosis of Narcissus by Iranian composer Gity Razaz alongside works by Rachmaninov and Bartók. The artistic line-up will include bassist and Chineke! founder Chi-Chi Nwanoku, violinist John Mills and soprano Sarah-Jane Lewis.
‘The Refugee Orchestra Project’s mission resonates just as strongly in the UK as it does in the United States,’ says Wallen. ‘I’m proud to be contributing music from this time and this place.’
Yankovskaya adds: ‘My life and career would not be possible without the generosity of the refugee aid organisations who helped my family. But many friends and colleagues who met me as an adult had no idea of the circumstances that brought me to America. I hope audiences walk away from our concert understanding that refugees are everywhere – and we are just like you.’