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Festivals for Compassion


European festivals join in support for Ukraine

We are all horrified by the baseless Russian military invasion in Ukraine and the suffering it is imposing on Ukrainians and all who hold them dear. Can music bring peace? At the very least, it can send a signal to all of us, our artists, our audience and above all to our Ukrainian colleagues and their loved ones.
Festivals for Compassion has commissioned the Ukrainian composer Maxim Shalygin to create ‘drop after drop’. Here’s what Maxim wrote to accompany his string quartet:

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…

At this time, when the people of Ukraine are experiencing their darkest hours, we want to ask you to use music to bind us together in solidarity and compassion and share Maxim’s new string quartet live and online. By doing so you express your support and solidarity with your Ukrainian colleagues, artists, and all those who are suffering in this senseless war.

Festivals from across the world are sharing their compassion and solidarity in the Wonderfeel initiative Festivals for Compassion.



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

Festivals for Compassion in 2021

In 2021 the Greek-Dutch composer Calliope Tsoupaki wrote a solo piece specifically for the days of corona. Every participating festival chose their own artist and instrument.

The piece was premiered during the Holland Festival on Dutch radio station NPO Radio 4. The Flemish radio station Klara carried the torch the next day. After that, the piece set out on its compassionate relay across Europe, and later the globe, from festival to festival.

Over 55 partners have joined this estafette, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Helsinki Festival, Utrecht Early Music Festival, the Opera Days Rotterdam, and the Thüringer Bachwochen. Various artists have created over 45 performances of Thin Air, sharing the piece with a global audience.

More information

Participation Wonderfeel

Thomas Dulfer performed Thin Air on bassoon on behalf of Wonderfeel. You can watch his performance here.

Thin Air by Thomas Dulfer | Wonderfeel & Festivals for Compassion
Thin Air by Thomas Dulfer | Wonderfeel & Festivals for Compassion

Festivals for Compassion is an initiative by the Wonderfeel festival, inspired by and in collaboration with Flag for Compassion.