Ukrainian Pianist Vadim Neselovskyi Holds Benefit Concert at Berklee

The Berklee alumnus and faculty member is donating all proceeds from his ongoing tour and his upcoming album, Odesa, named after his hometown, to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

June 9, 2022

Acclaimed pianist and Berklee alumnus and faculty member Vadim Neselovskyi ’04 will perform at Berklee on June 18 to benefit humanitarian relief efforts in his native Ukraine as part of an ongoing international tour that has raised over $150,000 in aid.

The concert, Odesa: A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City, will take place at David Friend Recital Hall in Boston at 8:00 p.m. ET and feature compositions from Neselovskyi’s forthcoming album, Odesa. The new record is named after and inspired by the natural beauty and cultural history of his home city, which has been a focal point of the violence and devastation suffered during the Russian invasion.

“Playing the Odesa suite has become a way for me to process the enormous psychological pressure of the war,” said Neselovskyi. “We were able to raise over $150,000 for various Ukrainian charities this spring. Of course, this is still a drop in the ocean of sorrow and loss. But it is more than nothing.”

Vadim Neselovskyi '04

Image courtesy of the artist

Each piece on the 13-track album, set to release on June 17 to coincide with the North American leg of his benefit tour, is a musical representation of Odesa’s historical and natural landmarks, and also reflect personal moments that Neselovskyi experienced growing up in the historic port city. Although he recorded the album in 2020, these compositions have taken on a much larger meaning for Neselovskyi, who hopes that sharing his work will help those affected by the war to heal both materially and spiritually.

“In my new project, I want to tell my personal story about this city,” said Neselovskyi. “Odesa: A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City takes the listener on an imaginary tour around my around my hometown, filled with memories, historical references, flashbacks, and dreams.”

Neselovskyi began learning piano while growing up in Soviet-controlled Odesa. A child prodigy, he was the youngest student to be accepted into the famed Odessa Conservatory. He moved to Germany at age 17, and later earned admission to Berklee in the early 2000s where he impressed his instructors and fellow classmates with his ability to collaborate and stand out across a multitude of styles.

Renowned jazz-fusion vibraphonist Gary Burton ’62 gave Neselovskyi’s talents an opportunity to shine in his famed Generations Quintet, where he shared the stage with future Berklee stars Julian Lage ’09, Luques Curtis ’04, and James Williams ’06. “It is a very rare occasion when a truly original player and writer emerges from the crowd,” said Burton. “Vadim is truly a genius, and a player I feel very fortunate to have gotten to know.” In addition to Burton, Neselovskyi’s work has been played by many other jazz greats, including Randy Brecker and Antonio Sanchez ’97, as well as classical artists and symphony orchestras in the United States and Europe.

David Friend Recital Hall is located at 921 Boylston Street, Boston. Admission is $20 for the general public and $10 with a Berklee ID. Tickets are available online for the seated event.

Watch the video for "Potemkin Stairs" from Odesa: