Ukrainian pianist fired from Toronto Symphony Orchestra for speaking out for Donbass, performs in Donetsk (video)


June 22, 2015

Kristina Rus

Each of us is faced with a choice of speaking our mind, or worrying about what our family, friends, bosses will think, how it would affect our reputation. This choice is even more amplified for public personas, such as Valentina Lisitsa, who put her career and livelihood on the line for truth, for her personal pain and the struggle of her people.

She chose to stand with her people, and she is an example for all of us. When the world goes mad, there are always these bright and pure signs of hope, strength and truth. And they are activated by our own personal choice not to compromise on our decency. 

The Ukrainian conflict has forced many to make that choice, even if they would prefer not too, and revealed the worst of us, and the best of us. It would not be possible without the pain and struggle, which break or cleanse a human soul and the soul of the nation. 

Music is a feeling, and nowhere it is stronger and more alive, then under a constant threat of death. Valentina became a fountain of vital energy, which the residents of Donetsk are so thirsty for. Even if we can appreciate the music on our computer screens, we cannot even imagine the feeling experienced by those in the audience.

Enjoy this concert in memory of June 22, 1941, the beginning of Nazi invasion of the USSR, in a frontline city of Donetsk, at which the Ukrainian heavy artillery is pointing from the dark fields just a few kilometers away.

Valentina Lisitsa (at 39 min): 

“I am incredibly grateful. This is one of the most important  days of my life. This is a great honor to be here with you on this day to enjoy this beautiful music together. Music is our spiritual legacy, just like our language, our faith, this is what is worth fighting for, it is our history, which no one can take away and rewrite. Seventy years had passed since we defeated fascism the first time, and now our role is to defend Europe, to defend the entire world from this brown plague, which is raising its head once again. And you are on the frontline, defending the entire world, the entire humanity. I am grateful to tears to be with you on this day. Thank you!”

The concert of Russian classics began with music by Sergei Prokofiev. Donetsk international airport which was completely destroyed was named after Sergei Prokofiev. More than 6 thousand people gathered to honor the memory of the fallen during WWII.


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