Yellow Barn concert will benefit the Ukrainian people
Russian pianist Boris Berman will perform works by his close friend and colleague, the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, in a May 26 benefit concert for Ukraine at Yellow Barn in Putney.

Yellow Barn concert will benefit the Ukrainian people

PUTNEY — On Thursday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m., Yellow Barn's summer venue, the Big Barn on Main Street in Putney, will open its doors early for a special concert to benefit the Ukrainian people.

Russian pianist Boris Berman will perform works by his close friend and colleague, Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.

Soon after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Berman called another of his colleagues, Yellow Barn's artistic director Seth Knopp, to relay the story of Silvestrov's perilous escape from Ukraine and to suggest a benefit concert at Yellow Barn.

Berman offers the following words about his concert:

“These days, when all of us watch with horror the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, my thoughts are turning to Valentin Silvestrov, with whom I have collaborated since 1960s while still in the Soviet Union. With the onset of Putin's brutal attack on Ukraine my concerns over Silvestrov's safety in the besieged Kyiv grew. Reluctant to move at first, he was later persuaded to leave his country. After a perilous journey, the 84-year-old composer has reached the safety of Berlin.

“Undoubtedly, Silvestrov is the most important Ukrainian composer of our time. He attracted attention in 1960s as one of the 'underground Soviet modernists,' a group of young composers, which included Schnittke, Denisov, Volkonsky, Gubaidulina, Part, Mansurian, and others. These talented musicians were keen on discovering new ways of musical expression, different from those approved by the Soviet officialdom.

“They were experimenting with the techniques developed on the other side of the 'iron curtain.' Among these diverse musical voices Silvestrov's was a lyrical, introverted one, looking for delicate shades and nuanced sonorities. In his later years he moved away from modernist techniques, his music became even more introspective and intimate.

“It is said that when cannons speak the muses fall silent. Silvestrov's soft intensity cuts through the clamor and brutality of this cruel war to emerge from the devastation caused by the barbaric invasion.”

Born in Moscow, Boris Berman studied at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with pianist Lev Oborin. In 1973, he left the Soviet Union to immigrate to Israel. Presently, he resides in New Haven, Conn., and performs regularly in more than 50 countries on six continents.

Boris Berman heads the Piano Department of Yale School of Music and conducts master classes throughout the world. He has been named an Honorary Professor of Shanghai Conservatory, of the Danish Royal Conservatory in Copenhagen, and of China Conservatory in Beijing. He is frequently invited to join juries of various international competitions. His extensive recordings have earned him a Grammy nomination.

All ticket sales for this event will benefit the Ukrainian people, thanks to the generosity of Berman and the Big Barn. In order to provide support where it is most needed at the time of this event, the benefiting organization will be selected and announced on May 22.

All attendees will be asked to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, including at least one booster. In addition, masks must be worn while inside the Big Barn. Capacity is limited to 70 percent. Tickets for general admission are $35 and can be purchased online at or by calling 802-387-6637.

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