CHICAGO (CBS) -- Conducting orchestras is Dalia Stasevska's passion, but she frequently moves from the podium to the front lines of war in Ukraine – helping the war-torn country where she was born.
The Finnish-Ukrainian director sat down Wednesday with CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov.
Stasevska's zeal for the music she conducts is obvious the instant she picks up the baton. Her whole body is consumed by the score.
The 37-year-old conductor is preparing for her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut.
"Of course, it's a dream come true," Stasevska said.
Only about a third of all orchestral conductors are women. Seeing one of them when she was a university student in Finland is why she is at the podium now.
"It exploded my mind. Suddenly, I saw a person that looked like me; a role model – and I thought that - wait a minute, maybe I can do that too," Stasevska said.
Music may be Stasevska's passion, but helping Ukrainians embroiled in battle is her main focus. Born in Kyiv, but raised in Finland, Stasevska still has family in Ukraine – including a brother in college.
Stasevska and her brothers raise money, buy vans, fill them with supplies, and drive them into the war-ravaged country. Five of them have been dispatched so far.
"It has been for me really important to show Ukrainians that though I'm Finn, I'm standing with them and I'm not afraid," she said.
In October, amidst the fighting, Stasevska asked and was even able to conduct a concert in Ukraine.
"It was such an important moment – to have a moment of normality in a country that has nothing normal, you know?" she said. "Just for a moment, forget about the horrors. Just gather together, enjoy good music, clap – and somehow listen to music that has so much hope."
Stasevska says she wants to continue helping Ukraine in any way she can – along with her two brothers. But while she is in Chicago, she says she would like to check out a couple of museums if possible – and maybe even have some deep-dish pizza.
Slasevska will conduct the CSO for three nights, beginning Thursday.
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