Igor Pikayzen

Igor Pikayzen Photo courtesy Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra

NEW LONDON — As an expression of solidarity with the war-torn Ukrainian people, guest violinist Igor Pikayzen will join the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra Saturday for “Shostakovich & Sibelius” the company's November concert.

Led by music director and conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, the concert will present works by Valentin Silvestrov, Dmitri Shostakovich, Myroslav Skoryk and Jean Sibelius.

The concert will open with "Prayer for the Ukraine," by Silvestrov.

"Silvestrov's songs are his way of using music to fight for his country," according to a press release from the orchestra.

The piece was originally written for mixed a cappella choir in 2014, but the orchestra will perform the symphonic version arranged by Andres Gies. Following "Prayer for the Ukraine," Russian-American violinist Igor Pikayzen will perform Shostakovich's "Violin Concerto No. 1," which lasts approximately 40 minutes and is one of the most technically demanding pieces in the violin repertoire.

Pikayzen is a graduate of Juilliard and Yale and the grandson of legendary violinist Viktor Pikayzen.

After a short intermission, the orchestra will perform another Ukrainian composition: "Myroslav Skoryk’s Melody."

One of Skoryk's most popular works, "Melody" is described as a spiritual hymn to Ukraine. Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' last published symphony, "Symphony No. 7," will close out the concert. Sibelius described this work as full of "the joy and vitality of life" and it is sometimes referred to as the world's most perfect symphony.

The orchestra's next concert will feature the return of the New London Big Band in January, the singing in Brahms’ "A German Requiem," and the Earth Day Celebration concert in April. From early fall to late spring, the 75-plus-member professional Symphony Orchestra presents six subscription concerts annually, most of which feature guest soloists. Subscription concerts are performed at the historic award-winning Garde Arts Center on State Street in New London.

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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