Seeds of Peace with Ukrainian Piano Maestro
Now available everywhere. Seeds of Peace.
Dean Evenson’s latest album, Seeds of Peace, is a stunning collaboration with Ukrainian jazz virtuoso and piano maestro Volodymyr Solianyk. Their gorgeous music of flute and piano transcends culture and genre and transports the listener beyond time and space. This album represents Soundings of the Planet’s vision of Peace Through Music in its highest form.
In 1987, with the Cold War still raging, Dean Evenson met Volodymyr Solianyk when he visited Ukraine and Russia as part of a Citizen Diplomacy tour he helped organize. There they collaborated on the album Music Makes the Snow Melt Down featuring Soundings of the Planet and Soviet musicians. Years later, Volodymyr was able to visit Dean in the United States and together they recorded their piano and flute collaborations. Since the war in Ukraine, they have reconnected again and are excited to be releasing their album Seeds of Peace. Here’s the story of how they first met and how the album came together.
Dean and his wife Dudley had organized a group of artists to travel to the Soviet Union as citizen diplomats with the express purpose of meeting musicians and collaborating with them. This foray into the camp of their cold war enemy was a perfect complement to their mission of Peace Through Music. They were very eager to connect with Soviet musicians and allow the international language of music to be their communication and carry a message of peace and friendship.
From the day of their arrival in Kyiv, the group experienced the first miracles of connection that were to become a pattern for the entire trip. On that evening, the Soundings of the Planet musicians were scheduled to open for a Russian rock concert at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. As the auditorium was not quite filled by the starting time, the concert was delayed 15 minutes to wait for more students to arrive.
During that time, a local pianist began to play in a rather free-form, improvisational style. Standing in the wings, they looked at each other and realized that this Ukrainian man was playing their style of peaceful music. Since their mikes were already set up and without ever having met the pianist, Dean and cellist Jonathan Kramer walked out onto the stage just as a Soviet drummer and bass player set up and they had an instant band. The music flowed forth as if rehearsed and they had their spontaneous debut in the USSR. The crowd went wild with bravos and foot stomping. The high point was getting to know Volodymyr Solianyk, the pianist, and to begin the first of several performances and recordings with him.
The next day they visited Glière Academy, one of the oldest music colleges in Ukraine. It turned out, they were the first Americans to ever visit, and it also happened that Volodymyr was a teacher there. The following afternoon with sunlight streaming through tall windows, they first recorded with Volodymyr on grand piano.
Their recordings and performances in Ukraine and Russia continued and th following year Soundings of the Planet released the album Music Makes the Snow Melt Down featuring Soundings and Soviet musicians, including avant-garde performer Sergey Kuryokhin. Many years later, they were delighted when Volodymyr was able to visit the United States and continue the piano and flute collaborations which have now become the album Seeds of Peace. With the war in Ukraine, Volodymyr has relocated to Norway seeking refuge. This means a lot to Dean with his strong Norwegian roots, knowing that his family’s homeland would welcome asylum seekers fleeing the ravages of war.
Seeds of Peace is dedicated to the richness of the Ukrainian soul and the continuation of work by citizen diplomats. May the seeds of peaceful music blossom into a peaceful world. We especially focus on a just peace coming to Ukraine so Volodymyr can return home to Kyiv and his people are safe from war.
Now is the perfect time to share this music to a world in great need of peace.
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