New film tells the story of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra

Clive Myrie presents a BBC Arts documentary about the ensemble formed against the backdrop of war

Published: August 4, 2022 at 10:02 am

A new BBC Arts film tells the story behind the creation of the newly formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, an ensemble of 75 instrumentalists formed as a musical response to Russia's military action in Ukraine.


In the film, presenter Clive Myrie meets members of this orchestra and their families, exploring how and why this band of musicians has joined forces in a warzone. He follows the stories of the musicians as they come together for their first rehearsal in Warsaw, then give their inaugural concert ahead of a tour of Europe and the USA, including a performance at the BBC Proms.

Myrie said: 'There has always been a cultural frontline in this war and I wanted to reflect that struggle. This documentary I hope shines a light on Ukraine’s artistic achievements as well as creative spirit, despite the suffering.'

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV at the BBC said: 'The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra is a beacon of hope in a terrible time and an opportunity for Ukrainians to see their finest musicians representing them on the world stage. Clive Myrie brings his deep knowledge of the conflict, his love of classical music and his peerless journalism to this documentary, asking why a nation at war is allowing musicians to put down their weapons and take up their instruments in a remarkable demonstration of the power of art over adversity.'


The Freedom Orchestra (working title) will be broadcast on BBC Two and iPlayer this September. The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra’s Prom is now available on BBC iPlayer and will be broadcast on BBC Two on 7 August at 6.25pm.


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.

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