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New BBC Arts film tells the story of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra

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A new arts film presented by Clive Myrie will tell the extraordinary story of Ukraine’s newly formed Freedom Orchestra. In the midst of war, 75 of the country’s finest musicians have come together to bring a message of defiance and hope. Some of their family members are on the frontlines, and many have fled Ukraine since the war began.

Clive follows the stories of the musicians from rehearsing – often alone – in Ukraine, to coming together for their first rehearsal as an orchestra in Warsaw for their inaugural concert – and ahead of a tour of Europe and the USA, including a performance at the BBC Proms on Sunday 31 July. In this powerful film, Clive meets members of this unique orchestra and their families, exploring how and why this band of musicians has joined forces in a warzone to take their music – and their message – to the world.

Clive Myrie says: “There has always been a cultural frontline in this war and I wanted to reflect that struggle. This documentary, I hope, shines a light on Ukraine’s artistic achievements as well as creative spirit, despite the suffering.”

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV at the BBC, says: “The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra is a beacon of hope in a terrible time and an opportunity for Ukrainians to see their finest musicians representing them on the world stage.

“Clive Myrie brings his deep knowledge of the conflict, his love of classical music and his peerless journalism to this documentary, asking why a nation at war is allowing musicians to put down their weapons and take up their instruments in a remarkable demonstration of the power of art over adversity.”

The Freedom Orchestra (w/t) will be broadcast on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this September. The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra’s Prom will be available on BBC iPlayer on 31 July and broadcast on BBC Two on 7 August at 6.25pm.

The Freedom Orchestra (working title) is a BBC News film for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. The executive producers are Vara Szajkowski and Clare Paterson. The commissioning editors for BBC Arts are Alistair Pegg and Stephen James-Yeoman.