“Charity Concert for Ukraine – For the Recovery of Art and Culture” Held at Kioi Hall

Dowa Line had the honor of hosting “Charity Concert for Ukraine – For the Recovery of Art and Culture” on December 20 at Kioi Hall. The hall was filled with more than 700 attendees in support of this important cause. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all who attended.

The concert began with Naoki Tsuboi as the emcee. As Kosuke Tsunoda conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and as the seven artists performed one after another, the audience fell silent, drawn into the music. Especially impressive was Skoryk’s “Melody,” a piece from the first half of the concert that depicted the post-World War II struggle for independence of the Ukrainian people. When the Ukrainian cellist Iana Lavrova finished playing the sentimental melody, the audience burst into applause, and the invited Ukrainian refugees stood on the stage with the Ukrainian flag flying!

After the intermission, the Ukrainian folk song “Looking at the Sky” which was performed at the start of the second half was even more impressive! When tenor singer Kazuma Kudo beautifully sang the emotional lyrics of a soldier looking at the sky to forget his suffering, the Ukrainian refugees were so moved that they cried and stood up in unison, and the applause was never-ending. When 11-year-old Himari finished playing Wienawski’s “Violin Concerto No. 1,” a piece of extreme difficulty, the audience sighed with amazement and broke out in thunderous applause.

Donations poured in at the event, topping 749,856 yen! All proceeds from the ticket sales, which amounted to nearly eight million yen, will be donated through the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan for the restoration of Ukrainian culture and art. Once again, we would like to thank everyone who supported this cause and purchased tickets, as well as everyone who attended and donated to the concert. We wish for the return of endless clear blue skies and rich yellow wheat fields to Ukraine!

The response to the “Charity Concert for Ukraine – For the Recovery of Art and Culture” that we organized and held at Kioi Hall on December 20, 2011 exceeded our expectations, and we received numerous comments from the audience. A few of these comments are presented below.

〇 “I really enjoyed listening to the concert in support of Ukraine. As a novice with no knowledge of classical music, I was able to enjoy it more deeply thanks to the announcer’s commentary. The performance by Himari on the violin was so impressive and powerful that it was hard to believe that she is an elementary school student. I was happy to have the opportunity to hear her performance live. Thank you very much for inviting us!” (S. S.)

〇 “It was a very precious experience for me to hear the beautiful sound of the cello live. When the Ukrainian cello player performed, I was so moved that I almost cried. I would love to have another chance to listen to that music again in the future!” (U. H.)

〇 “I have never been to a classical concert, but I was amazed at the power of the orchestra, and at the same time, overwhelmed by Himari’s solo performance that I previously had heard on NHK. Having this opportunity to hear her live was priceless! The performance by Ms. Iana, the Ukrainian cellist, was very poignant, perhaps due in part to the melody of the piece, and her tone, which seemed filled with prayers for peace, was especially moving. Thank you very much for this precious opportunity!” (K. K.)

〇 “The performance at the recent concert was excellent, including the choice of music and the conducting!

There were three Ukrainians next to me and they were all crying during Iana Lavrova’s cello performance. My wife was crying and I was looking up to keep my tears from spilling! During the second half of the concert, I found myself singing along with the Ukrainian evacuees, even though I did not understand the words.

After the performance, I had a chance to talk with them. The mother and her children were from Kyiv, and some of the others were from Bucha, where tragedies took place. Iana Lavrova’s mother was seated across from them. When we said goodbye, I encouraged them to stay strong and the children responded kindly. It is hard to think of such small children experiencing such grief. I am proud that our company was able to hold such a charity concert in support of Ukraine, and that we were able to help these children in some way.” (S. T., Dowa Line employee)

〇 “Since I became a working adult, I have had fewer opportunities to listen to orchestras and other performances, so I was excited just to visit the hall for the first time in a while. In addition to the wonderful performance by the Tokyo Philharmonic, we had wonderful guests such as Iana Lavrova from Ukraine and Himari, and I had a very enjoyable time! I was able to listen to some of the pieces that I had played myself when I was a student. The wonderful performance and the warm support for Ukraine through music inspired me to want to play an instrument again. I hope to have the opportunity to attend more concerts organized by Dowa Line in the future.” (S. M.)

〇 “I had a very meaningful time at the Charity Concert for Ukraine. It was the first time for me to even enter a music hall, let alone listen to a live classical performance! I had the impression that classical music was something to be enjoyed in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, but when the live performance began, I was surprised by the harmony of the tones of the various instruments and the power and delicacy of the singing voices, which made it impossible to relax – in a good way. When I heard “None Shall Sleep” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King” for the first time in particular, I was so excited and moved that I got goosebumps. I also heard that Himari was studying in Philadelphia in the United States. As someone who has lived and studied abroad, I felt I could empathize with the hardships she may have faced there, so her performance really touched my heart. Thank you very much for giving my life new contact with the world of classical concerts!” (I. R.)

〇 “I am grateful for the opportunity to express my support for Ukraine, as I had not taken any such action yet. If I had not attended this concert, I would have found myself doing nothing but worrying about Ukraine with my mouth as usual! I was really sad and almost in tears listening to Iana Lavrova’s performance, but when I saw her smiling and waving to the cheering Ukrainians in the audience… I felt how blessed Japan and I are, and I felt ashamed of complaining about little things. I was able to feel something through the music at Kioi Hall, even though I do not know anything about music. I would like to thank you again for this experience, which was the first of its kind in my life.” (S. T.)

〇 “Thank you very much for the Ukraine Support Concert. I had no knowledge of classical music, but I was impressed by the power of the live performance. The performance of Iana, born in Ukraine, really conveyed her feelings for her homeland and made me re-think on the subject of peace. Himari’s performance was overwhelming even for an amateur listener, as her power of expression was amazing. It was truly a valuable experience for me to be able to see her performance and I am incredibly grateful. Thank you very much.” (S. R.)

〇 “I was very moved by this spectacular concert, which was appropriate for the Christmas holiday season. I was drawn in by the charm of the violin, cello, and tenor. Thank you very much for this precious opportunity!” (S. E.)

〇 “I have been receiving news of the devastation of the war, but have not been able to offer my support, so I was grateful for this opportunity. I was not even remotely bored by the completely different genres of music, even classical, from the familiar to the completely unknown, or by the singing, cello, and violin. The Christmas medley at the end was also fun and wonderful! I had happened to watch a TV program about Iana and her mother who had evacuated to Japan with the help of Japanese supporters, and the Ukrainian song that was played was sad but beautiful. It touched my heart. Himari’s performance, which was hard to believe for an 11-year-old, and her lighthearted presentation of the violin concerto, which is said to be “superbly crafted,” were truly a remarkable sight! The performance with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra was wonderful. The singers were wonderful. The mother, Ms. Yoshida, had a delicate tone, and the young cellist, Mr. Mizuno, played a deep and powerful cello. It was a very satisfying concert with so much variety. So beautiful to hear.” (K. K.)