Kyiv Contemporary Music Days in collaboration with Ensemble KNM Berlin present an evening of new music with two concerts in a row featuring works by Ukrainian and other European composers.
listening cities is the name of KNM Berlin’s new sound magazine, dedicated in 2023 to music from three very different metropolitan regions of the world: Kyiv, Lima, and Taipei. Listening to a city does not only mean perceiving its acoustic signatures. The city is first and foremost an organism of human activities and sociocultural agreements. listening cities, therefore, asks current composers and artists from the above-mentioned metropolises about the geographical, social, political, and historical context of their art. Kyiv, Lima, and Taipei are currently in the media spotlight. Whether the Russian war in Ukraine, the violent unrest in Peru, which is primarily based on the social discrimination of the indigenous rural population, or the threatened invasion of mainland China in Taiwan – it is always also about the violation, rejection, and erasure of cultural identities.
In listening cities : kyiv, we learn from PR & communications specialist Nataliia Druhak how cultural identity and diversity are not incompatible in Ukraine. We discuss beauty in times of war, listen to impressive sound experiences of the composers Albert Saprykin and Maxim Kolomiiets and hear how Alexandre Babel (percussion) and Theo Nabicht (contrabass clarinet) (re)interpret them.
The second concert of the evening »…So They Grow Like Sunflowers« highlights bass instruments – double bass and contrabass clarinet – to explore the differences in their perception as solo instruments and their interaction with the ensemble.
The Ukrainian composers featured in the program belong to the new generation of Ukrainian classical musicians and represent what is commonly known as the Maidan generation. The Revolution of Dignity, or Euromaidan, which took place in Ukraine in 2013–2014, brought about radical political and social changes in the country but also gave a boost to cultural initiatives, both state-funded and grassroots.
The event’s name, “…So They Grow Like Sunflowers,” comes from the title of an ensemble piece by Anna Arkushyna to be performed at the concert. It is a reference to a phrase that a Ukrainian woman in Kherson addressed to a Russian soldier during the first days of the full-scale invasion: “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.” The phrase went viral thanks in no small part to the fact that the sunflower is considered by many Ukrainians a symbol of their national identity.
The concert title reflects both the macabre side of the ongoing war waged by Russia in Ukraine and a hope that the seeds planted since the Revolution of Dignity, whose flowers this concert showcases, will prevail and bear fruit in the peaceful Europe of tomorrow.