Photo of a Ukraine flag flying with blue sky in background

Sonyashnyk (Sunflower): A night of arts and music to benefit the people of Ukraine

Musicians and artists from Cleveland and beyond will present Sonyashnyk (Sunflower): A Benefit for Ukraine at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium on Friday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m.

The event is the brainchild of CWRU professor, Narcisz Fejes, and her husband, composer and pianist, Lorenzo Salvagni. Moved by everything they have seen in the media and heard from friends and family in Europe, they knew they had to do something. “I’m Hungarian, and although I didn’t have a chance to travel to the border to help, I felt a desire to do something from here,” said Fejes. Pianist Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith joined the duo as co-chair of the event. Between the three of them, they have strong connections to Cleveland’s international community, as well as the arts and cultural institutions that the city is famous for.

Members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, the Kashtan School of Ukrainian Dance, the Zorya Ukrainian Vocal Ensemble, and more, will perform. Ukrainian arts and culture will be woven throughout, in a program that includes music, dance, poetry, and art. It will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the deep cultural history of the country, as well as Northeast Ohio’s large Ukrainian population.

Featured world class performers include Yaron Kohlberg, President of Piano Cleveland and Grammy winning, Lviv-born concert pianist and Juilliard faculty member, Emanuel Ax. Salvagni and pianist Georgieva-Smith will also perform. “A lot of times we think of the arts and music as something non-essential,” Salvagni said. “As it turns out, people turn to the arts when they need to feel a connection to each other. Music is a way to raise people’s spirits, even in the most dire circumstances.”

All monies raised from sponsorships, ticket sales, and donations will be split evenly across three charities: Cleveland Maidan AssociationWorld Central Kitchen, and Global Giving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.

Learn more about the event and purchase tickets through Eventbrite.

Learn more on the Facebook event page.