Valery Gergiev, a conductor who is a personal friend and a prominent supporter of the Russian president Vladimir Putinwill not lead the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on a five-concert tour of the United States that began at Carnegie Hall on Friday night.
The 68-year-old Russian conductor is the musical director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, the White Nights Festival there, and is the principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic.
He received the Hero of Labor Award of the Russian Federation, which Putin revived in 2013. invasion of Ukraine which began on Thursday.
Gergiev has been friends with Putin for more than 30 years – the two met when Putin was an employee in St. Petersburg and Gergiev began his term as head of the Kirov Theater there, according to New York Times.
He has repeatedly defended Putin’s actions in the past and supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Valery Gergiev, pictured left with his longtime friend Vladimir Putin, will not lead his Vienna Philharmonic on a five-concert tour that began at Carnegie Hall on Monday night after he failed to make a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Gergiev, left, has been friends with Putin for more than thirty years – the two met when Putin was an employee in St. Petersburg and Gergiev began his term as head of the Kirov Theater there.
Gergiev, pictured, appeared in a television commercial for Putin’s third presidential campaign in 2012. In 2014, the conductor signed a petition in support of the annexation of Crimea.
The decision comes as Russia is banned by a growing list of events condemning the conflict with Ukraine.
Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee told international federations to relocate all events planned to be held in Russia or Belarus, and the country was banned from participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May.
“This change was made due to recent world events,” said Carnegie Hall spokesman Blue Carlino.
Ron Boling, a spokesman for the orchestra, said the philharmonic would not comment on whether the decision was made by the orchestra, Gergiev or Carnegie.
The move came after the famous Teatro ala Scala in Milan sent a letter to Gergiev asking him to make a clear statement in favor of a peaceful solution in Ukraine, otherwise he would not be allowed to return to complete his commitment to conducting. Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades . ‘
Gergiev was slightly contested by the audience during a performance Wednesday night, but the situation changed dramatically with the Russian invasion overnight, theater spokesman Paolo Besana said. His next performance is in Milan on March 5.
Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who is president of La Scala, said the request was made because Gergiev had repeatedly declared his closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Pictured is the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of conductor Daniel Barenbolm
Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala (pictured), president of La Scala, said the request was made because Gergiev had repeatedly declared his closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We ask him to take a clear stand against this invasion, and in case he does not, we are forced to give up cooperation,” Sala said. “It is clear that culture can move to other levels, but we must act in such a situation.”
Although Gergiev did not publicly comment on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, he had previously supported Russia’s actions against the country, the Times reported.
Online publications in recent days have promised protests at Carnegie Hall, where Gergiev was to lead the Vienna Philharmonic on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The orchestra then travels to Hayes Hall in Naples, Florida, for performances Tuesday and Wednesday.
Activists posted the hashtag #CancelGergiev on Twitter and spread photos of the composer to the Russian leader.
It would not be the first time Gergiev has angered foreign appearances on the ground – in 2013, protesters opposed him from the outside for failing to condemn Putin’s restrictions on the country’s homosexuality debate. New York Times reported.
The conductor appeared in a television commercial for Putin’s third presidential campaign in 2012. In 2014, Gergiev signed a petition in support of the annexation of Crimea.
“Ukraine for us is an essential part of our cultural space, in which we were brought up and in which we have lived so far,” the conductor told a state publication at the time.
However, just days before the last-minute decision was made, violinist and chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic Daniel Froschauer told the publication that Gergiev would conduct the tour, defending his support for Putin.
“He will be an performer, not a politician,” Froschauer said. “We are not politicians. We are trying to build bridges.
The musical director of the Metropolitan Opera Yannick Neze-Segen (pictured) will replace Gergiev for Carnegie’s concerts
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, pictured, will not play as scheduled on Friday. In 2014, Matsuev said he supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea
Metropolitan Opera’s music director Yannick Neze-Segen will replace Gergiev for Carnegie’s concerts, creating a busy schedule before Neze-Segen leading the premiere of Matt’s original French version of Verdi’s original Don Carlos in a five-hour performance Monday night.
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev will not play as planned on Friday. In 2014, Matsuev said he supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Vienna said the weekend program would remain unchanged and a soloist would be announced along with a conductor for the Florida concerts.
Gergiev is scheduled to return to Carnegie in May to conduct two performances with the Mariinsky Orchestra; it is not clear whether these performances will go according to plan.