EFAcast – Kharkiv Music Fest, Usedom Music Festival & Walden Festival

In this episode, Simon Mundy meets Kateryna Lozenko, Communication Manager of Kharkiv Music Fest; Thomas Hummel, Intendant of Usedom Music Festival; and Joost Fonteyne, Intendant of Flanders Festival Brussels, Klarafestival and Walden Festival.

Kharkiv Music Fest runs from 13 April to 24 June 2023.
Walden Festival runs on 15 and 16 July 2023 (by Klarafestival).
Usedom Music Festival runs from 16 September to 7 October 2023.

Kharkiv Music Fest is an annual classical music festival presenting famous Ukrainian and international artists in the second largest city of Ukraine. The festival strives to create opportunities to discover classical music for broad audiences by combining high-quality concerts with other events including lectures, masterclasses, showcases, conferences, presentations, discussions, community gatherings, among others. This makes it unique on the map of music festivals of Eastern Europe.

Despite the war, the musical spring returns to Kharkiv with Kharkiv Music Fest 2023 to fill the city with the bright colours of the festival's ArtPianos and the beautiful music of various concerts. Most of the festival venues are underground, but each concert serves as a thread that connects people to the normality they knew before the full-scale invasion. Each performance is a testament to the idea that, while evil may arise from time to time, it is ultimately ephemeral and universal values endure.

Walden Festival is an initiative from the founders of Klarafestival. Its concept is to enjoy music in all its diversity on various stages in and around Brussels’ Leopold Park, the green heart of the European Quarter.

On Sunday 16 July, attend the "Musicians from Belgium to Ukraine - Joining hands and hearts" concert. Music comforts and connects. And yet in times of war, everything threatens to fall still. EFA invited festivals to collaborate with Ukrainian colleagues. Usedomer Musik Festival, Walden Festival and Kharkiv Music Festival are rising to the challenge by creating a string quartet that will perform both old and brand-new work, written against the backdrop of war, in the Solvay Library. Borys Lyatoshinsky composed his String Quartet No. 4 in 1943, when he was obliged to flee his home city of Saratov. Today, conditions are no different for Maksym Poplinsky (2000) and Oleksandra Romanova (2007). A sea of steel or a fresh start: the laureates of the Young Composers Competition named after Lyatoshinsky express in sound something for which there are no words. Read more here.

As the sounding Podium of the Baltic Sea, the Usedom Music Festival equally presents the musical life of all countries surrounding the Baltic Sea, providing a special country focus each year of one of the Baltic Sea countries. On the isle of Usedom, the sunniest spot of the Baltic Sea diverse and exciting musical programmes, accompanied by art exhibitions, presentations and readings, allow one to reflect on one’s own culture and sensibilities in the mirror of the others’. Festival music effortlessly overcomes geographic, historical and cultural boundaries and brings people together across countries and generations. World renowned soloists, conductors and ensembles such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Kurt Masur, Kremerata Baltica, Esbjörn Svenson Trio, Kristjan, Paavo and Neeme Järvi or Esa-Pekka Salonen and many more present the music cultures of their countries. The programmes cover a wide range of classical music spiced up with jazz and popular music. The Peenemünde Concerts at a former World War II military testing site, frequently featuring the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the NDR Symphony Orchestra, are among the highlights of the more than 40 events presented by the Festival each year. They set an example for peace in a region historically divided by war and politics.