The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Music hosted a free, multimedia flute concert to honor Ukraine. The performance on March 25, at Orvis Auditorium featured Oregon-based flutist and producer Amelia Lukas, who is of Ukrainian, Russian and Polish descent. Lukas’ program aimed to deepen emotional awareness around the meaning of home, in light of current events.
Lukas performed a variety of pieces showcasing the flute, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute and electronics, accompanied with dance, visual art, lighting, videography and poetry. Projections of artwork by Oregon-based Ukrainian painter and muralist Tatyana Ostapenko preceded the concert and were featured alongside Lukas’ performance of Gemma (by Ukrainian composer Ludmila Yurina).
Lukas’ program was initially created during COVID-19 lockdowns before the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and centered around home, shelter, safety and comfort. The homeless population, which Lukas said is an issue in Oregon, was also an influence on her program. When she began taking the program on tour, the Ukraine-Russia conflict began and she really felt its influence as some of the pieces were about the refugee crisis.
“Now that we are a year plus out from the initiation of conflict, I think it’s still in people’s minds, but in a different way,” Lukas said. “We’ve almost kind of become accustomed to the news and with what’s happening there. I want to continue to reveal why this is so critical and why every single day acknowledging the bravery, generosity and incredibly inspiring acts of the Ukrainian people is so important.”
“We’re thrilled to have this residency with Amelia, a supremely compelling musician, artist and performer,” said UH Mānoa Director of Bands and Professor of Music Jeffrey Boeckman. “Our students greatly enjoyed playing for and learning from Amelia in her masterclass, and our concert audience was very moved by her performance. And partnering with the Pacific Gateway Center and the Hawaiʻi Flute Society allowed for a rich exchange and conversation with several important communities.”
Earlier in the week, Lukas hosted a masterclass at the UH Mānoa music department, where several students performed. Lukas has a versatile musical background, having studied for several years in London and holds a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in contemporary performance. Although many of the pieces the students played were traditional, Lukas encouraged them to not be afraid to push the boundaries and create their own extremes in their playing.
“This masterclass was great because I got to learn from an amazing musician that has different knowledge than what I may hear from my own teacher,” said Amanda Matsukawa, who attended and performed. “I also really enjoy masterclasses because I tend to get nervous before playing in front of people, so masterclasses give me a chance to get more used to performing. I learned a lot from Ms. Lukas while observing the other performers as well as what she told me personally. She helped me understand something that I had been struggling with and was not able to fix yet myself.”
Rachel Hatanaka added, “The masterclass was both productive and enriching! It was great to receive personal feedback on the piece I am studying along with gaining insight on flute technique through others’ performances. Amelia Lukas has been a joy to work with, creating an environment conducive to growth and learning. I am very grateful I had the opportunity to work with her.”
The concert was presented by UH Mānoa, in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Flute Society and Pacific Gateway Center.
—By Marc Arakaki