Minister of culture - Ukraine






To: Minister of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, Lina Mendoni


Dear Mrs Mendoni,


First of all, let me express my deepest respect to you and thank you for your kind support and solidarity with all Ukrainians during these difficult hours of the Russian Federation’s unprovoked war against peaceful Ukraine.


Thank you also for your support of the Odessa Classics Festival in Greece, which will take place June 9-13 in Thessaloniki. The Odessa Classics Festival was created in 2014, a critical year for Ukraine, in response to Russian aggression in Crimea. The mission of this Festival is the connection of Ukraine with Europe at the highest artistic level. The motto “a European Festival for a European city” is a reference to the unique history and heritage of Odessa music. Today, Ukraine is facing a difficult battle for democratic values ​​and its right to freedom. The Odessa Classics Festival, one of the pivotal platforms for classical music in Ukraine, is fighting its own battle for survival. I am sure that the Odessa Classics Festival in Thessaloniki, as a high quality music event, will be another step towards mutual understanding of our peoples and will help Ukrainian musicians to be heard on the concert halls of Europe.


Taking this opportunity, I renew my assurance of my deepest respect and gratitude for your solidarity,


Oleksandr Tkachenko



Minister of Culture and Sports

Note by the Minister of Culture and Sports Mrs. Lina Mendoni

“The Russian invasion not only targeted the existence of the Ukrainian state, but also violently cut off citizens’ access to artistic creation, which is a pillar of freedom and prosperity.


Since the organization of the Festival in Odessa this year became impossible, the Greek Government through the Ministry of Culture and Sports decided to offer temporary housing to this important artistic institution, hosting it in Thessaloniki.


Odessa hosted the Greek intellect and was the matrix of the rebirth of the Greek Nation. Two centuries later, as Ukraine fights for its freedom, Greece reciprocates the hospitality in order to keep alive one of its most important cultural assets.


The Odessa Festival of Classical Music “a European Festival for a European City” strengthens Odessa’s ties with Europe and the Ukrainians’ expectation for a European future. Violence has never succeeded in overpowering Art in human history. We will not allow it today either.


I hope this is the first and last time that the Odessa Classical Music Festival is looking for a home elsewhere. We look forward to the return of peace to attend the 2023 Festival at Odessa. “

Pantelis Boubouras

Honorary Consul of Greece in Kherson.

Head of the Charitable Organization “Boumbouras Foundation”

President of the Construction Company “Gefest group”


Honorable ladies and gentlemen, beloved compatriots!


Allow me to express my deep emotion for this priceless event organized tonight at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall.


I address you as an honorary citizen of the city of Odessa, the Queen of the Black Sea, which tonight is embraced by the bride of Thermaikos, our Thessaloniki.


Greece and Ukraine are linked by cordial bonds of brotherhood and friendship.
The Greek Ministry of Culture could not in a better way express true love and sympathy for the tried and tested Ukrainian people.


For this reason, let me thank you from the bottom of my soul for tonight’s effort, along with the Thessaloniki State Conservatory in collaboration with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra.


I hope and pray every day that the nightmare experienced by our Ukrainian people will finally end!




Pantelis Boubouras

Thomas Hampson


Alexey Botvinov

Greetings from the President and Artistic Director of the Odessa Classics Festival, Alexey Botvinov


The 8th Odessa Classics music festival was scheduled to take place in Odessa from 2 to 15 June 2022, but due to the tragic war in our country, it will take place instead in Europe, with its main body hosted in Thessaloniki, from 9 to 13 June. I would like to express my deepest sincere gratitude to the Greek Government and the Minister of Culture and Sports, Mrs Lina Mendoni, as well as the Greek associates and friends, Mr. Giorgos Koumentakis, Mr. Georgios Ioulios Papadopoulos, Mr. Simos Papanas and all those who embraced the idea and made its hospitality in Greece possible.


The historical correlation of Odessa’s aid to the Greek liberation struggle two centuries ago with today’s offer to return this hospitality to our afflicted nation is one of the most moving and meaningful cultural acts of solidarity of any government friendly to Ukraine, since the beginning of the invasion.


The program that will be presented in Thessaloniki was scheduled to be performed almost as it is this year in Odessa. The world violin star and honorary guest artist of the Odessa Festival Daniel Hope will present three different events, in programs that combine the diverse European classical heritage with the modern Ukrainian creation. Legendary baritone Thomas Hampson will present a diverse program of many different styles. The amazing Lithuanian ensemble of young musicians N.I.C.O. with composer and conductor Gediminas Gelgotas will perform “theatrical music”, a new inventive way of presenting classical music. The baroque ensemble Air and Daniel Hope will present the unique project “A baroque journey” that has already caused a global sensation and promotes baroque music through a different-fun point of view.


The signer has the honor to play chamber music and collaborate for the first time with the Thessaloniki State Orchestra, which will host the opening concert under the baton of their artistic director Zoe Tsokanou, while in the final concert there is the presence of great artists from Thessaloniki: Simos Papanas, Antonis Sousamoglou, David Bogorad and Dimos Goudaroulis.

I am convinced that the Odessa Classics festival in Thessaloniki will become a leading musical event, and at the same time will reinforce the special and friendly relations between the peoples of Ukraine and Greece.


Daniel Hope

Greetings from violinist Daniel Hope


Odessa Classics was created by my friend, Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov. Through him I have come to know and love Odessa, its rich heritage and its music loving people. Alexey and I were planning to be in Kyiv in March 2022 to work with the composer Valentin Silvestrov, preparing to record an album of his music. Just a few days before the Russian attack, Alexey left Ukraine with part of his family: now they are unable to return. Together we quickly organised televised benefit concerts in Germany for Ukraine, at the Frauenkirche in Dresden and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.


The Beethovenhaus Bonn, of which I am President, launched ‘Hope for Peace’, an emergency aid programme to support refugee musicians from Ukraine with benefit concerts, as well as providing living space, recording and concert opportunities.


Recently I was contacted by my close friend, the magnificent Greek violinist Simos Papanas. He told me about the fascinating connection with Odessa and Greece and that the Greek government were proposing to make the unparalleled gesture to support Odessa Classics. This shows an extraordinary commitment to history, to cultural connection and proves yet again, that Greece leads the world in terms of thinkers. I am deeply moved by this sincere gesture of the Greek Minister of Culture. If only there were more politicians in our world today, willing to activate the past in order to peacefully enable the future.


I am happy to be part of Odessa Classics in Thessaloniki and I should like to thank all those involved for their vision and encouragement of our human values at this difficult time.


Simos Papanas

Simos Papanas, violinist, composer, concert master of the Thessaloniki State Orchestra, artistic consultant of the “Odessa Classics” festival, responsible for festivals realisation in Greece


I was in Odessa for the first time in the summer of 2020, as a guest of the Odessa Classics Festival. I knew, of course, the highest quality of the Festival, but I did not know what else to expect. I was quickly overwhelmed by the glow of the city and its people. Brilliant scenes, zealous and passionate audience, liveliness and energy everywhere, fiery announcements and presentations, red carpet and photo shooting for all the listeners of the concerts (for them, stars are not only the ones on stage, but every ordinary listener), gave the impression that music and the Festival is not just another event, but the beating of the heart of the city. And of course, every big Festival has a well-organized hospitality, but it is different when the hospitality is rooted deep inside you. This can be seen both in the event and in the eyes and smiles of the people.


Ordinary spectators found me everywhere: at concerts, in the city, even sending messages

– Come and eat with us, let us treat you!

– Do you like our city? You know, it was once Greek!

– Go to the Greek Square, it is one of the most beautiful places!

– Did you go to the beach? Okay, it’s not as beautiful as in your country, but it’s worth a walk

– Thank you! Come back again!


On the morning of February 24, 2022, with the storm of news, it was impossible for me to watch the military and political analysts, to reflect on the political and economic implications, to understand the operational data. I watched on TV the places where I walked around carefree, talking to people and taking pictures to send to my family, blocked by roadblocks and antitank barricades under the deafening sound of sirens. I was thinking about the faces and smiles of the people who spoke to me, and I was wondering where to be and what to do. I immediately wrote to Daniel to ask him about Alexey.


It is said (lately) that we, musicians, are by nature against every war. I totally believe that: because unlike those who behind cold TV lenses or on the edge of an empty elongated table, “calculating their possessions with their eyes three times”, plan invasions expecting benefit over human pain, we musicians perform looking at people in their eyes – and even deeper – weaving a transcendental channel between our souls. For us, there is no place to hide.


Thanking from the bottom of my heart the Minister of Culture Mrs. Lina Mendoni for her generous and unstinting support, Giorgos Koumentakis, Gioulis Papadopoulos and all those who embraced the idea of ​​hosting the Festival of Classical Music of Odessa, I would like to invite the audience of Thessaloniki – since we Greeks also have the hospitality deeply rooted in us – to make our distinguished guests feel like I did in Odessa.


It is said that musicians are by nature against every war. It’s time to prove it: in practice!

Thessaloniki State Conservatory



With special honor and a high sense of responsibility, the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki (SCT) responded immediately to the initiative of the Minister of Culture Mrs Mendoni to assign us the organization of the Odessa Classics 2022 Festival.


As the only state conservatory in Greece, a pillar of conservatory education and one of the two oldest music educational institutions in the country, for 107 years we have hosted various cultural events in our city (concerts, conferences, festivals, master classes, competitions).


Our constant goal is to cultivate artistic-educational contacts and to create communication channels with foundations and institutions from all over the world.

In this context, the organization of the Festival by SCT acquires much greater importance as a channel of communication in the midst of crisis. And the way out of any crisis presupposes search, knowledge, hope and vision – elements that the true artists bring when communicating with their fellow human beings.


From 9 to 13 June, leading musicians and ensembles of international scope impart the vision of Odessa in Thessaloniki, offering the possibility of cooperation of institutions and promotion of its cultural sites. At the same time, through the music collaboration they remind that the essential communication is based on honesty, understanding and humanity.


Nikos Avdellas
Chairman of the Board of
State Conservatory of Thessaloniki
Georgios – Ioulios Papadopoulos
Director of the Board of
State Conservatory of Thessaloniki