Anthea Kreston’s musical tour of Ukraine

by | Apr 22, 2022 | Arts and Entertainment | 0 comments

Anthea Kreston, the director of the Majestic Theatre’s series of chamber music concerts, always had been planning an evening of Russian music as one of the shows for this season.

Then world events forced her to refocus her plans.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Kreston scrambled to rework that planned concert of Russian music. “I decided to switch gears and make it Ukrainian,” she said in an email.

The result is “The Great Gate of Kiev,” an evening of music connected in some way to Ukraine. The concert, part of the Majestic Chamber Music series, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. (See the sidebar for ticket information and more details about the concert.) The concert also is a fundraiser for the UNICEF fund for Ukrainian children.

It would have been easy for Kreston, a world-renowned violinist and member of Oregon’s Delgani String Quartet, to simply program music by Ukrainian composers for “The Great Gate of Kiev.” But she wanted to go beyond that.

“I wanted to mix history, people and music,” she said, “so I don’t stick to an all-Ukrainian composition model; rather a mix of music which relates in different ways to Ukraine.”

That includes looking at several of the famed musicians who hail from the Ukraine, including the great violinist Isaac Stern – who was among Kreston’s teachers. (The program Saturday night includes a Beethoven trio that Stern taught to Kreston and her husband, the cellist Jason Duckles.)

And she’s including performers with connections to Ukraine, including pianist Asya Gulua, who will perform a piece by her aunt, Ukrainian composer Elena Gnatovskaya.

Gulua, who immigrated to the United States from her native Moscow in 1996, has degrees from the Juilliard School, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and the University of Oregon. She lives in Salem, where she works for the Oregon Symphony Association, teaches private students and performs with her pianist husband, Arsen Gulua.

Kreston said she’ll interview Asya Gulua during Saturday’s concert and will focus in part on the Guluas’ efforts to help several relatives leave Ukraine for the United States. Kreston said the Guluas “now have a full house, in addition to their two teenagers.”

The concert program also includes a performance of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, which the composer dedicated “to the victims of fascism and war.” And it also includes, of course, “The Great Gate of Kiev,” the Mussorgsky piece from his “Pictures at an Exhibition,” arranged for string quartet.

The finale will feature orchestra students from throughout Oregon performing the Ukrainian national anthem.

If You Go

What: “The Great Gate of Kiev,” a presentation of Majestic Chamber Music.

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 23.

Where: Majestic Theatre, 115 SW Second St. in Corvallis.

How much: Tickets are $11, $16 and $21 and are available at the Majestic box office or online. Click here to order tickets.

Also note: The event is a fundraiser for the UNICEF fund for Ukrainian children. Anthea Kreston, the director of Majestic Chamber Music, and her husband, the cellist Jason Duckles, donated their proceeds from a recent concert in Berlin to the fund. The performers at Saturday’s concert are donating their fees as well.

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