The concert for Ukraine was held at the Athens Concert Hall. Proceeds from the event will be used to rebuild the Mariupol maternity hospital. The Christos Lambrakis Hall was packed to capacity (1,900 seats). Those who did not find a ticket were able to live-stream it for 10 euros. Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos and the quartet he led, which, as he said, “confirms the talent that exists in Greece,” received a standing ovation.
They had managed to become one body within a few hours, after meeting for the first time on stage. We will not forget their names: Elias Livieratos (viola), Timotheos Gavriilidis Petrin (cello), Vassilis Varvaresos (piano) – the most famous and acclaimed of the three. They played Brahms. In the main box, the prime minister and other officials. The night was complete. The event created a community of emotions, filled with generosity and a joint purpose.
What was missing from the night? The Athens State Orchestra (KOA) and the Symphony Orchestra of state-run broadcaster ERT, which, individually, refused to collaborate in a concert for Ukraine, rejecting Kavakos’ invitation. The excuses they gave, which were provocatively transparent (about their intentions) and were used as a pretext, were written about and commented on a lot. The focus fell mainly on KOA, due to its strong link to Kavakos. The ERT Symphony Orchestra’s rejection was rather ignored, almost as if its negative reply was expected. A few days before the event, ERT’s show “Music Box” with singer-songwriters Nikos Portokaloglou and Dionysis Savvopoulos shook up the stagnant Greek music scene (not artistically stagnant, of course).
Judging by the numbers, then it’s plain to see that the initiatives were a complete success. The ERT marathon raked in 363,000 euros, which was given to the Ukrainian Red Cross. The night at the Athens Concert Hall made about 90,000 euros. If we want to speak about the artistic result, then “hope, the beauty of life and love,” as Kavakos said at the Athens Concert Hall, won – whether one likes Brahms or not. If the applause is anything to go by, then it was an apotheosis.
So, was there a triumphant finale? The “trauma” caused by KOA’s stance is healing, we hear. A generation of young Greek musicians, with great talent, is dynamically emerging into the foreground. This time, those who chose to build bridges managed to cover the discordant sounds. This time.