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Festivals for Compassion

European festivals join in support for Ukraine


These are dark days for the people of Ukraine, our festival colleagues and musicians there. In light of solidarity and compassion, Festivals for Compassion has one again called on European festivals to unite and stand together for Ukraine.

The Ukrainian composer Maxim Shalygin was commissioned by Wonderfeel to compose a new string quartet for Festivals for Compassion: drop after drop. Shalygin wrote the piece for string quartet, but the work can be performed by any possible quartet formation.

Maxim over drop after drop:

Since the first day of the war in Ukraine, a terrible pain has settled inside me. Every time I close my eyes, I want to wake up from this terrible dream… but alas, it is not a dream. drop after drop is a kind of an ingot of that pain and memories of my childhood, when my relatives were telling me about the war years and sung wartime songs. I hear those songs inside me again and I wish they would stop…

Within just 10 days, more than 10 festivals from Belgium, the United Kingdom, Israel, Latvia and the Netherlands joined the Festivals for Compassion. On Thursday, March 17th the ADAM Quartet premiered drop after drop at the Festival Young Talent on Schiermonnikoog, and on that same day the Nieuw Amsterdams Klarinetkwartet played a two-minute long version for winds on Talkshow M on NPO1.

The performances, live and streamed, are meant to express how music unites us across all borders in solidarity with everyone affected by this horrendous war.

The Cello Biennale Kwintet performs drop after drop at the Cello Biennale Amsterdam 2022
The Cello Biennale Kwintet performs drop after drop at the Cello Biennale Amsterdam 2022

Wonderfeel director Tamar Brüggemann:

We began Festivals for Compassion during the first lockdown in 2020, for which we had the composition Thin Air by Calliope Tsoupaki travel though Europe as a sort of compassion relay race, handing it over from one festival to another. Throughout more than 55 different performances of Thin Air spread across Europe – from Turkey to the UK, from Finland to Italy – gave us a sense of connection in a world troubled by COVID-19.

When the terrible war in Ukraine started, we decided to reapproach this network of festivals. We are grateful to Maxim Shalygin who, despite the many worries he must cope with at the moment, still found the space to compose drop after drop, a work with which we as festivals can stand together in solidarity and compassion. I wish the music could bring us peace, but at the very least it is a signal for all of us, for our musicians, our audience and for everyone who is affected by this senseless war.