The Odessa Classics Music Festival will be held in the city of Thessaloniki on June 9-13 for the first time since it was founded in 2015, due to the war situation in Ukraine, it was announced at a press briefing on Wednesday.
Thessaloniki and Greece “are helping out so that Odessa Classics can survive in this difficult year,” noted Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov at the briefing, who is also the festival’s founder and artistic director. The Ukrainian artist also thanked Greek Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni for helping to move the festival to host city Thessaloniki, and he called it an “unforgettable gesture.”
On her side, Mendoni noted, “Throughout human history, violence has never succeeded in overpowering art,” adding that “we will not allow it today either. I hope it will be the first and last time that the Odessa Classics Music Festival is looking for a home somewhere else.” As she noted, Odessa served as the home of a thriving Greek intellectual community which organized the start of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. “Now that Ukraine is fighting for its freedom, Greece returns the favor by hosting one of the city’s key cultural icons alive.”
Proceeds from the festival’s opening and closing concerts will be donated to the Red Cross for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
The festival’s program is available at https://www.odessaclassicsthessaloniki.gr.