As a classical music pianist and artist, I embrace beauty. I seek to share with audiences the powerful emotions that make music so magical, and I try to make people feel that beauty and be part of it. This has been my world, my mission and my mindset. I cherish it; I always will!

Such a mindset is entirely incompatible with any form of aggression or violence. And even more so with the horrors of war.

I defy war. It’s heartbreaking to witness the tragedy that is unfolding before our very eyes in Ukraine. It’s ugly and brutal beyond words, and it also brings us together in the face of injustice. 

My grandfather was from Ukraine; my great-grandmother was an opera singer, who performed with Rachmaninoff. She worked at Kharkiv Opera Theatre for many years, and they lived in Kharkiv. Seeing this beautiful city bombed and destroyed brings tears to my eyes.

I have a lot of Ukrainian friends, and these wonderful people have always formed an important part of my life. Even the first prize winner of my piano competition is from Ukraine.

I cannot even imagine the horrors they must be experiencing now, and my heart cannot take such thoughts.

Please stop this madness! Please say NO to war!

Olga Kern