The famous New York pianist is originally from Ukraine Pavlo Gintov organized a charity concert of Ukrainian classical music in Washington.
The money collected at the concert for the Heal Ukraine Group – a consortium of doctors, scientists and medical workers from Boston University – will go to help Ukrainian doctors on the front lines and to train Ukrainian doctors in American clinics.
“Today I am playing Yakymenko in Washington, and at the same time someone is playing Yakymenko in Britain or in Finland”
A piano concert, the program of which mostly includes works by little-known Ukrainian composers, gathered a full hall in Washington. This could only be dreamed of before the war, says pianist Pavlo Gintov.
“Ukrainian music still remains something mysterious and unknown for them. I think that I manage to interest them. They are usually very surprised that they have not heard it, that they do not know it and they discover something new for themselves,” says the pianist about the impressions of Americans from his music.
Pavlo Gintov says that he also plays at private concerts where real connoisseurs of classical music gather. One of the last ones consisted exclusively of Ukrainian works, and the reaction of the listeners was amazing – they wanted to know more about the composers, asked for advice on works for their own performance, for learning in the schools where they teach.
Korean-American violinist Hae Sun Han after the concert in Washington, she shared her impressions: “As a musician, I was deeply impressed by this unknown piano repertoire, I was interested to hear not only Pavel’s first-class performance, but also to learn about the fate of the Ukrainian composers who wrote this music.”
Due to the events of 2014, I started collecting repertoire for concerts of Ukrainian music and saw names I had not seen before, found works I had not heard of before.
In the program of the speech in Washington, except Lysenko, Lyatoshynskyi and Skoryka – works by little-known composers even in Ukraine, who were exiled by the Soviet authorities.
As Pavlo Gintov says, while studying in Ukraine and in Moscow, he did not have the opportunity to form a complete picture of Ukrainian music – some names were silenced, some were deleted for political reasons.
“These composers Fedir Yakymenko, Serhiy Bortkevich, I discovered them only when I was already living in America, and because of the events of 2014. Because I started collecting repertoire for concerts of Ukrainian music and saw names that I had not seen before, and found works that I had not heard of before,” says the pianist, who has been living in America for the past 17 years.
According to him, interest in Ukraine, which continues to resist Russian aggression, also gave rise to interest in Ukrainian culture, in particular, in music. Now Valentina Sylvestrova and Borys Lyatoshynskyi are playing in the USA, they want to know the names of modern creators of Ukrainian music.
“I am very pleased that many people from different sides are engaged in this, and I see that today I am playing Yakymenko in Washington, and at the same time someone is playing Yakymenko in Britain or in Finland,” Gintov shares.
Pavlo Gintov was born in Kyiv, graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, completed doctoral studies at the Manhattan School of Music, and holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in music.
Gintov has been living in America for 17 years, where he performs, teaches, and is also a Ukrainian activist. For 10 years now, he has been campaigning against Russian actors supporting the war and collecting aid for Ukraine.
At a charity concert in Washington, he collected funds for the Boston organization Heal Ukraine – “Heal Ukraine”, to support Ukrainian doctors on the front lines.
Mark Poznanskyleader of the Heal Ukraine Group, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, told Voice of America that Ukrainian doctors from Boston introduced him to Pavel, and that is how the idea was born to raise money at charity concerts for Ukrainian doctors on the front lines and in hospitals affected by shelling.
“There are many connections between musicians and doctors, for example, between the doctors of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. With the help of Pavlo Gintov, we are raising funds for the Heal Ukraine organization, which provides the medical needs of Ukrainian doctors on the front lines and helps improve the qualifications of the doctors themselves , surgeons, psychiatrists,” says Poznansky.
He says that the proceeds from this concert will be used for additional training of Ukrainian colleagues. Since the beginning of the large-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, doctors from Boston have been sending medical equipment to Ukraine – from surgical materials to portable ultrasound machines, from cardiac monitors and mechanical ventilators for vacuum therapy of wounds to surgical headlamps, so that even when the electricity goes out due to shelling, surgeons can continue save life
Poznansky adds that charity concerts do not bring in much money in the general collection, but music has its own healing power.
“Perhaps 10-12% of the funds come from concerts, but music is part of the recovery process, which we help the Ukrainian community in America, and in Ukraine as well, because we broadcast the concerts online, and we know that Ukrainian doctors also listen to them and feel our support,” the benefactor said.
We must not forget that Ukrainians fight and die for those values that are also American, for freedom.
To support Ukraine, he came to the Washington church of St. Anna and Evgeny Vindman, former employee of the National Security Council.
A retired US Army colonel and international lawyer, he is involved in investigations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Vindman says that he talks about Ukraine at every meeting he has with Americans.
“It is important to keep people thinking about Ukraine, and people come up to me at these meetings asking what we can do for Ukraine. We must not forget that Ukrainians fight and die for those values that are also American, for freedom,” Yevhen Vindman said in a Voice of America commentary.
As Mark Poznansky says, for many who came to Sunday’s concert, the matter of supporting Ukraine is deeply personal.
“When Russian troops began to concentrate on the borders of Ukraine, I remembered what my Jewish family experienced in 1939, when Nazi and Russian troops invaded Poland together. I told myself then that we need to help Ukrainians now so that our descendants do not read about these events 80 years later, and they didn’t tell, it’s a pity that they didn’t get help then,” Poznanskyi said.
The story that Pavlo tells with his music makes us think about what kind of evil Ukraine is fighting against today.
In honor of Polish friends and Poland – the country that was called the “Ukrainian rear of this war” at the concert, the only non-Ukrainian piece in the program was “Polonaise” by Fredric Chopin.
Pavlo Gintov recalled that the exile from his native Poland never had the chance to see a free native land after the suppression of the anti-Russian uprising. But his work sounds like a hymn to the victory of the Polish spirit.
During the concert, Pavlo Gintov talked a lot about the fate of composers who died at the hands of the Soviet authorities or were forced to become refugees in the countries of Western Europe.
And these stories found a response among the audience in Washington, where there were many refugees already from the current war, the counselor of the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA drew attention Kateryna Smaglii.
“The story that Pavlo tells with his music not only heals, but also forces us to think about what kind of evil Ukraine is fighting today, defending its independence, its cultural identity and its future as a democratic state,” said the diplomat.