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'Courageous' opens orchestra season in Livermore

With eye on Ukraine, PCO performing 'Music from the Heart of Europe'
Composer Myroslav Skoryk
The concert will include works of Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk.

The Pacific Chamber Orchestra is beginning its 2022-23 season this weekend with a concert featuring some of the greatest musical works to come out of central Europe.

On the stage at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore on Sunday (Sept. 18), "Courageous: Music from the Heart of Europe" will include music by late Ukrainian composers Mykola Kolessa and Myroslav Skoryk, Polish composers Grazyna Bacewisz and Wojciech Kilar, and Antonin Dvorak of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

"This program offers a perfect platform to come together as a community, reinforce our shared humanity and experience the universal healing power of music in times of adversity," PCO music director and conductor Lawrence Kohl said.

"In addition, this performance invites listeners to not only appreciate the sheer beauty, courage and folk wisdom of these uplifting musical works, but also pay tribute to the brave people of Ukraine and its bordering countries who have continued to embrace strength during a time of upheaval and despair," Kohl added.

PCO concertmaster, violinist and violist Igor Veligan has a particular connection to this music. Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Veligan came to the U.S. in 1998 and earned a Master of Arts in violin performance and chamber music from Odessa State Conservatory.

He has been on the faculty at the American River College since 2004 and the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific since 2006.

Onstage, in addition to his lead role with PCO, he has served as a guest concertmaster of the Sacramento Philharmonic and principal violist with the Reno Philharmonic for 10 years. He is also a founder and teacher at the Young Talents Music School.

The PCO season-opener will be performed twice next weekend -- first at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Orinda at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 17), and then at the Bankhead in Livermore at 3 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 18). To learn more, visit