European musicians step in to help depleted Odessa Orchestra on tour with Hans Zimmer

10 March 2022
By Ellie Palmer
The Ukrainian orchestra is set to accompany Hans Zimmer on his European tour later this month. However, the tragic situation in Ukraine has split the orchestra in half; some remain in Ukraine, and some have escaped into neighbouring European countries.

Musicians from around Europe have stepped in to fill the gaps created in Ukraine's Odessa Orchestra for their upcoming tour with film maestro Hans Zimmer. The news was announced during a press conference in Berlin on 8 March.

The tour manager of the Odessa Opera Orchestra, Oleksandr Lysiuk, says that after the first explosions on 24 February, he and his family decided to leave Ukraine immediately, "We understood that the situation is really serious," he said. A number of other musicians in the orchestra also fled. He added, “Thankfully all of our musicians who have managed to escape are now in a position to go on tour. We are safe.” 

Dieter Semmelmann, CEO at tour organisers Semmel Concerts Entertainment GmbH, comments, "It is a very emotional and distressing situation for us all. We are very happy that some of our musical friends from Odessa have managed to escape to Germany – some of them with their families too. But we are very worried about those who have not yet made it over the border. We will do everything we possibly can to help our Ukrainian friends out of this very difficult situation. In the meantime, we have asked a number of fellow musicians to join us so that we can have a complete orchestra.”

The tour, which begins on 11 March in Hamburg, is the first international live production of this scale since the start of the pandemic, with 130 members (including the band, orchestra, crew team and Hans). Other dates include Stuttgart (March 13), Cologne (March 15), London March 22 and 23), Manchester (March 24), Amsterdam (March 27 and 28), and Paris (April 5, 6, 7). The show will visit a number of other European cities before returning to Germany in April for further concerts.

Zimmer perform hit compositions from fan favourite films as well as newer material. Additionally, he will perform pieces not often performed live. More information about the tour can be found here.

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Main image: Odessa Opera Orchestra's tour manager Oleksandr Lysiuk (left) with Hans Zimmer in Berlin