The beautiful story of two Ukrainian sisters who are musical prodigies

They had been told that they would welcome “a musical family”, but Sheilagh Matheson and Chris Robert did not imagine that they would be hosting two musical prodigies. In June 2022, this English couple had offered to welcome a Ukrainian woman and her two daughters who were fleeing the war into their home in Corbridge, reports The Guardian in an article relayed by Slate.

Admitted to prestigious English schools

Less than a year after their arrival on English soil, the two young girls have already received a scholarship to be able to integrate the most prestigious music schools in England. Khrystyna Mykhailichenko, 17, will be able to study piano at Royal Academy of Music in London. Her little sister, Sasha, 12, was welcomed to the Yehudi Menuhin Schoolnear Leatherhead, to learn the violin.

The three women lived until 2014 in Crimea. After the arrival of the Russians in this territory, they fled to settle near kyiv, in Irpin. But there too, war knocked on their doors, forcing them to flee again.

An “absolutely incredible” talent

Sheilagh Matheson, evokes an “absolutely incredible” talent: “We opened the windows and passers-by stopped to listen to them”. The couple went on the hunt for a grand piano after receiving a video of the eldest playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. “A couple contacted us to provide us with a Steinway,” explains the Englishwoman to Guardian.

The principal of the Royal Academy of Music, who hosted the eldest of the two sisters, is also impressed: “When she played me Chopin’s Ballad No. 1, she showed me how much she is a serious artist. It’s as if all the burdens of his difficult life were channeled into his music”.

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