Being an Estonian it is obvious that an attack on Ukraine, an independent country, hits very close to home.
I arrived in Moscow last week when few believed that Putin would actually start a war. Suspicion and distrust of our large neighbour has unfortunately proven to be well founded.
Many friends have urged that I should cancel the concert and leave Russia immediately…and to be honest that was my first instinct.
After thinking about this deeply I have come to the conclusion that this would be defeatist, dishonest and disloyal to the wonderful young musicians of the Russian Youth Orchestra, who feel confused, torn and shocked, and who are against this war as much as I am.
With this concert I wanted to leave my young colleagues with some love and hope for humanity…Love and hope that might remain in their hearts and memories for the years, maybe decades, of isolation that is surely to come.
These young people should not and cannot be punished for the barbaric actions of their government. I cannot turn my back on my young colleagues: musicians are all brothers and sisters.
As a human being and as an Estonian, I hate what is going on in Ukraine. I resolutely condemn the actions of Russian government and Putin!
I conducted this concert in the Spirit of defiance and deep solidarity with these young artists and in the Spirit of support and solidarity of the Ukrainian people!