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    Valentina Lisitsa

    Renowned Ukrainian-Born Pianist Lisitsa to Hold Concert in Donbass

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    Valentina Lisitsa, a well-known Ukrainian-born American classical pianist who has faced censure over her strong opposition to Kiev's war in Donbass, has told Sputnik that she is getting ready to hold a concert in Donetsk later this month.

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik on Tuesday, Lisitsa noted that her performance, to be held in Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, is likely to take place Monday, June 22, the symbolic 74th anniversary of the start of the Great Patriotic War. 

    Noting that the performance would take place either at the Donetsk National Academic Opera Theatre or outdoors before the city's main square, Lisitsa stated that she would be very happy if it were held outdoors, "because I know how much interest and thirst for classical music and for music in general there is among Donbass residents, and I'm very excited to go there."

    Asked about whose composers' works she planned to play, Lisitsa noted that it would be "very symbolic to perform Prokofiev, because he is from that region; he was a composer whose roots are [in the Donbass region]" and his music was inspired and influenced by his homeland. Moreover, she plans to play beloved pieces by composers including Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Bach, whose "pieces…unite all of us – that make us feel like one close family."

    In addition to her hopes to give joy to the people of Donbass, Lisitsa also hopes to show her fans and those who observe and follow her work that ordinary people "on all sides don't want war, to fight with each other; they don't want their children, their husbands, sons and daughters to die under bombs and bullets." She wants to show her Western followers that the people of Donbass are just like them, that they love classical music just like them. Noting that she will post video of her performance on YouTube, she said that "I think that's the best kind of service I can possibly do for the people of Donbass."

    The classical pianist explained that she does not "expect miracles" when it comes to the grandeur of the venue or the quality of the piano, but notes that it is the music and the soul behind it, rather than the instrument, which is most important.

    Lisitsa first gained wide-scale media attention for her political views in March, after Canada's Toronto Symphony Orchestra cancelled her performances over numerous comments she had made on social media condemning Kiev authorities and their war in eastern Ukraine. A renowned Kiev-born pianist, Lisitsa first gained mass popularity among lovers of classical music in 2007, when she began posting videos of her performances on YouTube, which have since garnered tens of millions of views, and earned Lisitsa tens of thousands of loyal fans.

    Lisitsa told Sputnik that she has never been afraid that her decision to express her views would limit her career, noting that musicians aren't in it for the money anyway, "but because we want to share our love of music – something that is our common human heritage, and we are here to share it with as many people as possible."

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    censorship, concert, Valentina Lisitsa, Donetsk, Ukraine, Donbass
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