A Personal Statement on Ukraine

I was born in Moscow and lived there until the age of 16. I treasure my heritage, I treasure Russian music, poetry, and art. I spent most of my professional career propagating Russian culture in the United States by performing and teaching its great vocal literature. Yet today, I feel deeply ashamed and deeply saddened. The indiscriminate murder in Ukraine is unjustified, unprovoked, and simply unfathomable!

My mother is a native of Ukraine who at the age of 7 survived the holocaust by escaping the city of Kharkiv with just a few hours to spare. I grew up hearing the stories of her harrowing journey. For my generation, the war was a distant, yet ever-present memory. We all believed that the bloodlands of Ukraine will never see war again. Yet today, my mother's hometown is once again under fire. Once again, her city is being destroyed, countless children are made orphans, countless soldiers are dead, and countless women are raped.

I am sad, but I am also angry--the country that I left 30 years ago has now entered a fascist nightmare! I stand with Ukraine and her heroic, Putin-defying people. I urge everyone to do whatever they can to ameliorate the plight of the Ukrainian people and to donate to the relief agency of their choice. In addition, I urge my American colleagues to stand with Ukraine in a very special way: friends, be brave, learn music in Ukrainian! Include Ukrainian songs in your programs, organize benefit concerts, show the world your solidarity with this long-suffering country! Remember that the Ukrainian language has been suppressed by Russia for centuries and the simple act of singing in Ukrainian is in itself a form of political protest!  

So, GLORY TO UKRAINE, may her enemies disappear like the dew in the sun, and may this nightmare come to an end!