Ukrainian conductor Yuriy Kerpatenko was killed by Russian soldiers after refusing to participate in a planned concert in Russian-occupied Kherson, according to a social media post from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy. The government authority learned of the tragedy October 14.
Kerpatenko was principal conductor of the Gileya chamber orchestra within Kherson Regional Philharmonic, a post he'd held since 2000, and principal conductor of the Mykola Kulish Music and Drama Theatre.
The musician reportedly clashed with Russian state forces following a planned concert in Russian-occupied Kherson "intended by the occupiers to demonstrate the so-called 'improvement of peaceful life' in Kherson." The Kherson Regional Philharmonic's Gileya chamber orchestra, led by Kerpatenko since 2000, was asked to perform at the October 1 event, a request that Kerpatenko refused. Reporting from the Ministry and journalist Olena Vanina includes that colleagues lost contact with Kerpatenko in September, and that he was killed by Russian occupiers in his home at some point in September or October. According to The Guardian, the Ukrainian prosecutor's office in Kherson is now investigating the incident "on the basis of violations of the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder."
Considered one of the most respected musicians in Ukraine, Kerpatenko was a graduate of Kherson School of Music and Kyiv Conservatory.