WITNESS - Lunyov


WITNESS for 2 children voices, 3 violins and electronics


Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…

Proverbs 31:8


Music performance, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.


In 2017 Witness received the Bronze Cannes Lion at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.




The Witness is a music brainchild of the composer Svyatoslav Lunyov for the commemoration of one of the greatest tragedies of the Jewish people during the Second World War, the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre. The performance symbolizes the wind that witnessed atrocious events 75 years ago. The sound of the wind epitomizes voices of souls perished in the Babyn Yar, while young singers and violinists echo the sorrow for the victims through their music. Delicate music, which is played on the verge of senses, permeates the performance akin to the tree that grows through ground and stone, and as the human DNA connects the myriad of cells. The music of everyday life is interrupted with a cacophony of the dark forces that pull the people out of their peaceful lives, eradicate and mutilate them in the same fashion as the tree is eradicated from the ground. However, after the horror of death, the main theme of the Witness shows the tree of life blossoming again, promising a better future to the next generations. Another part of the Witness is an art installation in the form of Shofar, an ancient Jewish music instrument made of ram’s horn.Its shape resembles the queue of the people at their last moment of life at the edge of the Babyn Yar. You can hear the sound of the sofar one hundred times, which is equal to a hundred of tubes symbolizing the voices of killed victims. It is an equivalent of a woman giving birth who screams 99 times expecting death, yet the final exclamation welcomes the newborn. The Jews believe that the sofar’s sound is a harbinger of the year of sorrow, but also that there is a glimmer of hope in every death and an expectation of a new life.


lyrics – Yuriy Sak, Svyatoslav Lunyov

Source: the webpage of the performance


First performance: 2016


Instrumentation: 2 children voices, sofar, 3 vln, elecrtonics


Duration: 30′