Yuriy Kerpatenko, conductor of several ensembles in Russian-occupied Kherson, has been killed Russian soldiers. The killing followed Kerpatenko’s refusal to lead an Oct. 1 concert “intended by the occupiers to demonstrate the so-called ‘improvement of peaceful life’ in Kherson,” the Ukrainian culture ministry said.
Kherson, in southern Ukraine, was the first major city seized by Russian troops after Vladimir Putin launched the invasion in February. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have advanced on the city, raising prospects of encirclement of its occupiers and a cutoff of supply lines from Russian-occupied Crimea. On Friday, Russian authorities urged civilians to leave Kherson, a move that Ukrainians have charged is a call for “deportation” to Russia.
“The tragic irony of this is that talk about the superiority of Russian culture, its humanism,” Semyon Bychkov, a Russian émigré who is chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, said in an interview with The Guardian. “And here they murdered someone who is actually bringing beauty to people’s lives. It is sickening.
“The bullets don’t distinguish between people,” Bychkov said. “It didn’t make me feel worse that this man was a conductor, it just confirmed the pure evil that’s been going on even before the first bombs fell on Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, Andrey Reshetin, a violinist and director of an early music festival in Russia, has volunteered to join the invasion force, Norman Lebrecht reports on his Slipped Disc website. Reshetin is quoted as saying that cultural authorities “didn’t give a penny of money to the festival, destroying all my work. And since the basis of my work is service, I go where I need to serve.”