On Tuesday 31st October, Middlesbrough Town Hall will play host to a very special performance from the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (NSOU).

Returning to the UK for the first time in over twenty years, the Town Hall is the only North East venue the premier symphony orchestra will play during their 17-date tour.

Recognised as one of the finest symphony orchestras in Europe, the NSOU was first formed in 1918. They have released more than one hundred critically acclaimed recordings and the 2023 performances will be their biggest UK tour to date.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the orchestra initially put any tour plans on hold. They bravely resumed rehearsals and performances two months later in their usual location at the Lysenko Column Concert Hall in Kyiv.

Recent performances for the orchestra have included several summer concerts in the Lysenko Column Hall. Ticket capacity is now limited to 150 people, because only 200 people can fit in the air raid shelter under the building.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

If the air alarm goes off, the audience, orchestra members and building staff move to the shelter, where the violinists play Bach sonatas and other music to the audience while they wait until it’s safe to come out.

Most of the 98 NSOU members have remained in Kyiv, and with all men aged 18-60 conscripted to fight, two members are currently conscripted to the Ukraine military.

Travelling to the UK for the tour is no easy task. With no flights in and out of the country, the entire orchestra will take a 20-hour coach journey through the war zone to Warsaw, Poland, where members will then board a flight to Heathrow.

A huge cultural event for the calendar and an impressive sight to be seen and experienced in the stunning Main Hall of the Middlesbrough town centre venue, the 90-strong orchestra will share and celebrate Ukrainian musical culture through carefully selected pieces for the performance.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The programme for the evening will feature:

Boris Lyatoshynsky

Grazhyna Symphonic Picture

Max Bruch

Violin Concerto No. 1

Jean Sibelius

Symphony No. 1

Artistic Director & Chief Conductor: Volodymyr Sirenko

Violinist: Aleksey Semenenko

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Alexander Hornostai, NSOU managing director and producer, said: “The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine has been an important part of the country’s culture for over 100 years, and we have been performing and rehearsing in Kiev since we were first established in 1918.

“Whilst this war has had a dramatic impact on Ukrainian lives, we took the decision early on that we had an important role to play in continuing to perform, to protect and showcase Ukrainian musical culture and show that there is more to our country than just the conflict.

“We are deeply grateful to the UK venues and tour promoters who are working with us to ensure this ambitious tour happens.”

Whether you’ve experienced orchestral music before or not, this concert is a must-see.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Tickets are £25 including booking fee.

Under 30s can enjoy a £5 ticket offer, including booking fee. 

£5 UKR tickets are also available for Ukrainian nationals and refugees.

Book via www.middlesbroughtownhall.co.uk or call 01642 729 729 to speak to the box office.