On the chilly December evening of December 4, 2022, St. Faith’s was blessed to open its doors to the wider community for a world-class concert for the benefit of Ukraine. The evening featured renowned Ukrainian pianist Anna Sagalova, who fled the country with her son at the start of the war and now resides in the Lower Mainland of BC. In addition, Harmonia Ensemble, a Vancouver-based string ensemble filled with talented musicians from all walks of life, joined Ms. Sagalova in the evening’s performance.
The guests streamed through the doors as the musicians tuned their instruments. Lines formed around the donation table with community members waiting their turn to give support to the relief work. Soon, the pews on the main floor as well as the balcony were filled to near capacity.
The first half of the concert featured Ms. Sagalova on piano, accompanied by Harmonia, performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in E minor. Following an intermission, the focus shifted to Harmonia as they performed repertoire showcasing Ukrainian composers. The evening closed with Prayer for Ukraine by Mykola Lysenko, with Ms. Sagalova returning to the stage to accompany on the piano. Thanks to the generosity of the 150 attendees, St. Faith’s reports that $6,000 was raised at the concert. The money is already on its way to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund for disbursement to partner organizations in Ukraine working to provide relief to their country’s people.
Anna Sagalova is a well-known Ukrainian pianist. An Honoured Artist of Ukraine and Associate Professor at Kharkiv I.P. Kotlyarevsky National University of Arts, she completed a postgraduate course at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar (Germany). She also recently earned a Doctoral degree in Arts from the Kharkiv I.P.K. National University. Ms. Sagalova, who is also the Artistic Director of the International musical art contest Kharkiv Assembles and co-founder of the project Music Against Cancer, frequently plays as a soloist with symphony orchestras throughout Ukraine under the baton of conductors from Ukraine, USA, Switzerland, Great Britain, Austria. She has given concerts in the International Museum of the Red Cross in Geneva, the Bozendorfer Hall in Vienna, the House Museum of F. Liszt, and the concert hall in Altenburg in Weimar (Germany), as well as on Bern state radio. Her performances have been broadcast on radio and television, and she has recorded two compact discs.
Harmonia is a string chamber ensemble based in Vancouver, BC. The group originated 16 years ago when founder Tony Lee invited a small group of musician friends to play string orchestral music in his living room. Since then, Harmonia has grown to about 16-20 players with resident conductor Nick Urquhart and concertmaster Dominic Woo. Harmonia’s focus is on performing many of the great string works that are rarely heard in concert halls today. Orchestra members come from many walks of life – professionals, businessmen, teachers, and retirees. All are advanced performers of their respective instruments and dedicated to the joy of making wonderful music together.
Photos: Adam Yates