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Artists will perform in a benefit concert for Ukrainian families

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Many people watching events in Ukraine feel helpless. For one Ukrainian-born musician, it's especially painful.

MARTA KRECHKOVSKY: Ukraine is my home country. It's where I took my first steps. It's, you know, where I learned how to play the violin from my father. So it is very hard to put into words what I feel, how I feel and how all of the Ukrainians feel in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIOLIN PLAYING)

INSKEEP: Marta Krechkovsky is a violinist based in Pittsburgh.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In recent weeks, she's been sharing that sense of powerlessness with fellow Juilliard graduate Natalia Kazaryan, a pianist living in Washington, D.C. Natalia says what Marta is going through now is similar to how she felt when Russia invaded her home country of Georgia in 2008.

NATALIA KAZARYAN: I was not in Georgia at the time of the invasion, but my relatives were and my friends and my community. And I just felt hopeless as I watched with horror, and the images of tanks rolling into the city is just so triggering for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF PIANO PLAYING)

INSKEEP: As you would imagine, Marta has been thinking a lot about her friends and family. Her cousin is also a violinist. He's with the National Opera of Ukraine. And he's joining the Border Guard defending his country, like other Ukrainians who've never held a gun before.

KRECHKOVSKY: He just so strongly wants to help, and this is why he joined. And right now he's just waiting until he gets notified and called for whatever duty that might be.

MARTIN: Marta says her cousin and other Ukrainian civilians who are joining the fight are an inspiration.

KRECHKOVSKY: Just to see how strong Ukrainian people are, how much they want to defend their country - and they're fighting so hard - it brings hope and some kind of comfort.

MARTIN: Natalia Kazaryan was also inspired to try and make a difference. She's organizing a benefit concert next month to raise funds for women and children in Ukraine. She hopes that the music will also be a way to heal from the horrors of war.

KAZARYAN: Music can do what words can't. And it's also a way for artists to feel like they can help, they can contribute, they can bring people together.

INSKEEP: And the Washington Arts Ensemble concert will be held at Natalia's home in Washington, D.C., April 3, with a second one planned a few days later.

(SOUNDBITE OF NATALIA KAZARYAN AND MARTA KRECHKOVSKY PERFORMANCE OF FAURE'S "VIOLIN SONATA NO. 1 IN A MAJOR, OP. 13:11 ANDANTE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.