“Music is our life”: Ukrainian refugees join the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – Winnipeg

Two Ukrainian brothers who recently reunited in Winnipeg share their love for music through the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Dmytro and Mark Kreshchenskyi are starting a new life in Canada after fleeing St. Petersburg, Russia, for Estonia in late February.

The duo performed together in the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in the eight years leading up to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“Our life has been radically changed by the terrible war in Ukraine,” Mark said.

“We had to cancel our contracts and leave the country because we are deeply concerned about the situation in our home country.”

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The 31-year-old twins, who are almost always joined at the hip, arrived in Winnipeg a few weeks apart last month, after accepting temporary positions with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) — Dmytro at the viola and Mark playing the bassoon.

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“Playing music has always been our life’s passion,” Dmytro told Global News after rehearsal before the WSO. Raiskin conducts Shostakovich concert Saturday night.

Dmytro and Mark Kreshchenskyi arrived in Winnipeg a few weeks apart last month, having accepted temporary positions with the WSO — Dmytro (right) on viola and Mark (left) on bassoon.


Mark Kreshchenskyi / Supplied


As the son of a piano teacher, Kreshchensky’s passion for music is familiar. However, their parents decided to stay in their home community of Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine.

“They don’t want to walk away,” Mark said. “It’s their land, their home, and they’re going to stay there and fight for it.”

“They are very happy that Canada is supporting us. I hope that one day they will visit us here.

With the WSO, the twins play instruments they brought from home.

“He’s my friend. My second part of me,” Dmytro said of his Ukrainian-made viola.

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In Winnipeg, the duo reunited with the familiar face of Taras Pivniak, a Ukrainian bassist they played with in Kyiv many years ago.

Pivniak arrived in Manitoba’s capital with his wife and children in July, after fleeing to Slovakia.

“(Leaving Ukraine was) a very big step in my life because I changed everything,” Pivniak said. “I lost my coffee and decided to leave my favorite orchestra in Ukraine.”

Thanks to the universal language of music, the friends manage to escape their thoughts of war.

Mark says they find comfort in this year’s lineup which is filled with Ukrainian music.

“We can’t live without music here. Music is our life,” he said.

“Through our performances, through this music, we can tell the world that there is no place for war.”


Click to play the video: '70 years of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra'







70 years of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra


70 years of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra – February 26, 2018

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