President Alar Karis at the opening of the Narva days of Tallinn Music Week on 7 May, 2022
Dear musicians and music lovers! Dear people of Narva,
I’m happy to see that Tallinn Music Week is taking place also in Narva this time. A city with a rich history and a passionate present, Narva is where Estonia begins.
Exceptional musicians from home and abroad have gathered here. These days will offer joy and comfort, bring fresh ideas and give everyone, both the public and the musicians, a chance to briefly step away from their daily lives.
We have recently seen many examples of what music can do. We have seen a musician heading into battle in the heart of Ukraine singing a traditional song about the red viburnum, turning it into an anthem for peace recognized the world over. The song gives hope and encourages to stand together. We’ve seen a pianist, wearing body armour, playing Chopin in front of the Irpin cultural centre, a building destroyed by bombs. We’ve seen a mother returning home in the City of Bila Tserkva to a war torn home, wiping the dust off the piano and… playing Chopin as well. We’ve seen children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends and strangers singing in bomb shelters, metro stations, among ruins.
Music helps them stay strong and live. Music helps us stay strong and live.
Music cannot go silent when cannons are blaring. Musicians and event organisers around the world have given countless charity concerts in support of Ukraine. In addition to the millions donated within these events, these concerts have drawn the attention of millions, tens of millions of people to this brutal war, and they have brought the world together to stand against evil.
Artists and creators teach the world empathy and compassion. They teach us the art of being human. In addition, let’s not forget that musicians and event organisers are among some of those, who took the worst blows over the past two years because of the corona virus.
Last week, I went to a concert given by the Kyiv Soloists in Estonia. This is a premier collective from Ukraine, who went to Italy to perform on the 23rd of February, however, the next day the Russian army began to bomb their homes. It has been touching to see how concert organisations around Europe have come together to support the Kyiv Soloists. Over the two months of war, they have given more than 60 concerts across Europe. The Kyiv Soloists are not merely an orchestra, but also a powerful collection of ambassadors for Ukraine, a strong carrier of the anti-war message. Those who have been to their concerts will not forget them.
I wish you many great musical experiences. I hope that Tallinn Music Week in Narva will bring us together and bring out the best in each of us. May art and culture help us be better, more empathetic and compassionate.