Conductor of Ukrainian orchestra to deliver lecture at Gordonstoun

Hobart Earle was a pupil at the Scottish school in the 1970s.

Hobart Earle will deliver the Prince Philip lecture at Gordonstoun
Hobart Earle will deliver the Prince Philip lecture at Gordonstoun (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The principal conductor of an orchestra from Ukraine has said it will be a “real privilege” to give a lecture to children at his former school in Scotland.

Hobart Earle, who has conducted the Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra for the last 30 years, will give the annual Prince Philip Memorial Lecture to pupils at Gordonstoun School near Elgin, Moray, on Friday.

His interactive talk and presentation, titled Ukraine. Music In Wartime, will provide an insight into how musicians in Ukraine have adapted to living and performing in wartime, and features videos of the orchestra performing from 2014, when Russia first invaded the country, to the present day.

In one video, the orchestra plays the Ukrainian national anthem in total darkness caused by a power cut during a concert in the warzone in January 2023.

Earle said: “Despite all odds – and despite the daily air-raid sirens – the music continues, as best as possible.

“Music transcends borders, and this performance offers a unique perspective on the emotions of a country trying to maintain a sense of normality while dealing with the brutality of war.”

Earle, who attended the prestigious Scottish boarding school between 1974 and 1979 and played clarinet in the school orchestra, will also pay tribute to members of his orchestra, many of whom are currently displaced by the war in Ukraine or fighting in the Ukrainian army.

He added: “Gordonstoun instilled in me a love of the stage and a passion for performing, and I’m looking forward to returning to the school. It will be a real privilege to deliver the Prince Philip Memorial Lecture.”

Lisa Kerr, principal of Gordonstoun, said the school is “privileged” to be hosting an event featuring “one of the world’s most renowned principal conductors”.

She added: “This one-off musical event provides a unique perspective on the conflict in the country and how the Ukrainian people are trying their best to get through each day in almost impossible conditions.”