“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist,” wrote the 19th-century composer Robert Schumann. To shed a bit of light during one of the darkest events of the 21st century, an Eastman professor will be presenting a recital this month to benefit displaced Ukrainian music students.
Associate Professor Alexander Kobrin
Hoping to provide solace and peace to Ukrainian students: Associate Professor Alexander Kobrin
This recital, and this cause, have a powerful meaning for Alexander Kobrin, as he explained in a short interview.
How did the idea for the recital come about?
The idea of the recital came right after the war started. I dedicated all my performances this spring to Ukraine and its people who are going through unimaginable horrors. It was a natural impulse to try to do what I can do best in order to show my support. At the same time Hiiumaa Homecoming Festival decided to dedicate this coming edition to Ukraine by inviting students who had to run away from the war and are currently in different European countries trying to continue their music education.
Why is this benefit recital important to you personally?
My grandparents were from Ukraine, and I was born in Russia. For me it’s a personal tragedy, and I am not sure I would ever recover from this. My family is torn apart, family members are taking sides, and I think this is one of the horrors of war which we are going through not even being there. But of course, this is nothing compared to the actual war experiences of these young people, who are trying to continue to live a normal life without having a home.
What will you be performing?
The Chopin Fantasie is one of my favorite pieces. The Polish Chopin himself was a victim of Russian aggression, and I think his music corresponds very well with our reality.
Alexey Shor, a Ukrainian-American composer, wrote his sonata in collaboration with famous Russian pianist Michael Pletnev a year ago. Who knew then that the idea of Ukrainian and a Russian collaboration would be impossible just a very little time after? I think examples of such collaboration should be appreciated; we won’t see many of them in the near future.
I will conclude the program with Mussorgsky’s iconic Pictures at an Exhibition, which with all its darkness, death and life themes, and grand Finale depicting the Great Gates of Kiev, is a true reflection of the darkness of war and the hope of life.
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