Greensboro Symphony pays musical tribute to Ukraine

Interview with Dmitry Sitkovetsky

By David Ford for wfdd

Photo courtesy of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra


The Greensboro Symphony is presenting a Ukrainian-centric concert next month. This musical tribute to the embattled country and its citizens is multilayered, beginning with the orchestra’s longtime Russian conductor, Dmitry Sitkovetsky.


Sitkovetsky grew up in the former Soviet Union, but his father was born in Kiev, and some extended family members remain in the war-torn city today. He says the rich artistic culture there will be reflected in several ways on next month’s program, beginning with Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s Hymn 2001. It was dedicated to victims of 9/11, and it's equally resonant today.


Russian cellist — with Ukrainian ties — Sergey Antonov follows with the monumental Sinfonia Concertante by Sergei Prokofiev who was himself born in what is today the Donetsk Oblast region. The program concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2. Sitkovetsky says it’s filled with Ukrainian folk songs and nicknamed “Little Russian.”


"Even the title, 'Little Russian' shows, you know, ‘Oh, it’s our little brother,’" says Sitkovetsky. "Said who? If you know the history, Kiev is twice as old as Moscow. And it was Kiev’s Russe, and the whole thing started from Ukraine. It’s an older culture. It’s a more important culture — in history."


The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra’s tribute to Ukraine with Grammy-nominated cellist Sergey Antonov is Saturday, November 5.


Listen here to full interview with Dmitry Sitkovetsky on wfdd.