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Masked Ukrainian orchestra makes concert recording as lockdown eases

FILE PHOTO: Musicians of the Ukrainian Radio Symphony Orchestra wear protective face masks as they take part in one of the first rehearsals after an easing of lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kiev, Ukraine May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KIEV (Reuters) - The symphony orchestra of Ukrainian radio held its first concert recording for TV, radio and online platforms since coronavirus lockdown measures were partially eased in early May.

The musicians wore protective masks to match their black-tie outfits. Although two of them usually share one music stand, they had to follow social distancing rules and this affected the orchestra’s performance, art director Volodymyr Sheyko told Reuters.

“It is difficult now as they don’t feel each other’s shoulder, they don’t feel a friend’s elbow. Some connections were broken because of the distance and also because of the masks because some unconscious messages are expressed on people’s faces during the performance and musicians react to them,” Sheyko said.

Founded in 1929, the symphony orchestra of Ukrainian radio belongs to state-run public broadcaster UA: Suspilne which unites two all-Ukrainian TV channels, four radio stations and regional divisions.

Because the orchestra mainly produces content for radio and TV, its musicians are able to play again, unlike their colleagues whose concerts for live audiences are still banned due to coronavirus restrictions.

Sheyko said the music industry was in deadlock because of the situation.

“Many music bands used to live from ticket sales, all commercial bands, commercial organisations, and even philharmonic halls which are not fully covered by the state budget,” he said.

“That is why there is a problem. It is a problem of loss, national losses because there is no nation without culture.”

Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko and Sergei Karazy, Editing by Ed Osmond

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