Ukrainian refugee music students find sanctuary at National Musicians’ Church in London

By Giles Fouhy
Posted Sep 22, 2022

[Diocese of London, Church of England] On a warm, late August afternoon, the dramatic music of one of Ukraine’s greatest contemporary composers, Myroslav Skoryk, fills the nave of Holy Sepulchre, Holborn. This day marks six months since the start of the current war.

The beautiful, urgent music is played by 21-year-old violinist Nikita Vikhorev and 19-year-old pianist Yuliia Mats. Both are refugees, fleeing the bloodshed in their native Ukraine.

The Parish Church of Holy Sepulchre, Holborn, has stood on the edge of the City of London for hundreds of years. It contains the musicians’ chapel with the grave of Sir Henry Wood, founder of the BBC Proms, who started his musical career at the church. By hosting rehearsals and performances throughout its history the church became known as the National Musicians’ Church, but five years ago, despite protests and letters to the national press, the church closed its doors to musical hirings.

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