A special fundraising concert is being held at The Sheldonian in Oxford on Friday 30 September to raise vital funds for Ukraine.

The Orchestra of St John‘s is hosting the concert which will feature highlights of Handel’s Messiah and Prayer for the Ukraine by Valentin Silvestrov as part of the first ‘Ukraine Culture Week’ in Oxford.

The powerful concert will not only raise money for ongoing humanitarian work in areas affected by the Russian invasion, but will also celebrate Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage.

OSJ’s John Lubbock says: “It was surreal to schedule zoom meetings with the sponsors in Kyiv to fit between bombing raids, and that the music continues among the reports of atrocities. But they chose us because we had already expressed support for Ukraine in recent concerts.”

So how did the concert come about? “When Helen and Stephen Clarke (Helen is Ukrainian, and Stephen worked in the British Embassy in Kyiv) who run Cherwell College in Oxford, contacted OSJ about their plans to bring the annual Kyiv music festival to Oxford, we leapt at the chance to form a partnership.

John Lubbock, OSJ founder & conductor

“It seemed appropriate to perform Handel’s much-loved Messiah journeys through suffering and loss to a place of peace and redemption, alongside powerful works by Ukrainian composers, remembering what many Ukrainians are experiencing today and looking forward with hope. Please come, and please give generously.”  

The programme therefore also includes Berezovsky‘s Symphony No 1, Bortniansky‘s Let My Prayer Arise and Vedel‘s How Long Oh Lord performed by OSJ, OSJ Voices, Bogdana Pivnenko on the violin and the Kyiv Chamber Choir.

And don’t forget to book tickets to OSJ performing Tales from the Wilderness: Peter and the Wolf narrated by the awesome Johnny Ball on on Sat 24 Sept at SJE Arts and October 16 at Dorchester Abbey.

Johnny Ball

The great children’s TV presenter narrated The Snowman in Aberdeen with the Scottish Symphony and in Belfast with the Northern Ireland Symphony, her was the right man for the job and promises to give it his best shot! 

The famous children’s TV presenter, populariser of science and mathematics and father of Radio 2 DJ Zoe Ball with feature alongside soprano Theano Papadaki, husband and wife pianists Maki Sekiya and Ilya Chetverikov and Orchestra of St John’s, conducted by John Lubbock.

Peter and the Wolf

Johnny will guide you through ‘a symphonic fairy tale’ that explores the mysteries of folklore and the wilderness, shedding new light on well-known pieces by Prokofiev and Saint-Saens, timeless folk-songs by Canteloube, and Rachmaninov’s enchanting Vocalise.

Book at https://www.osj.org.uk/forthcoming-concerts/