In 1941, troops surrounded the city of Leningrad, in what would be remembered as the Leningrad Blockade, a siege of more than 2 years, and one that would claim the lives of more than 1,000,000 men, women, and children.
In the midst of this devastation, composer Dmitri Shostakovich worked tirelessly to complete his 7th Symphony.
The symphony went on to be played across the front lines of the Russian resistance, and today serves as the sound that lifted an entire city in it’s darkest hour, instilling renewed faith in our capabilities as individuals, as well as the dignity and power that art may serve.
This is more than a story of war.
It is the story of how, on August 9, 1942, Dmitri Shostakovich, Karl Ilitch Eliasberg, and his battered, starving Radio Orchestra of Leningrad, all with nothing left to lose, brought music to the people when they needed it most.
It is a story of familial bonds tested under the threat of annihilation. It is a story of how ordinary individuals, flawed and hopeless, may yet carry the spark of extraordinary deeds.
It is the story of one’s right to life.
It resonates today in all the ways we try, for fear, for ignorance, or just for being human, to ignore the dangers of our world, until those very same dangers come knocking at our doorsteps.
All those who stayed behind; who would not, or could not, be evacuated.
They made an offering. Every bit of love and hope.
They did not know why they suffered, nor what more they had to live for.
They did not know when help would come, nor from where.
They watched the skies, waiting for anything to lift them up.
This is the story of how, for a moment, their prayers were answered.