Gergiev replaces ailing Maazel at Munich Philharmonic; political protests follow

Posted on: April 14, 2014

In Monday’s (4/14) New York Times, James R. Oestreich writes that two programs of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall over the weekend “spoke eloquently of the musical personality of their planner, Lorin Maazel, the ensemble’s music director since 2012. It was Munich’s favorite son, Richard Strauss, all the way, on the 150th anniversary of his birth, with … ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ on Friday evening and ‘Ein Heldenleben’ on Saturday. Mr. Maazel had to cancel his appearances at the last minute because of illness, but Carnegie Hall and the orchestra were able to find eminent and suitable replacements: Valery Gergiev on Friday and Fabio Luisi on Saturday. Mr. Gergiev especially seemed apropos, since he is scheduled to replace Mr. Maazel as the orchestra’s music director next year. None of that cut much ice with the vocal protesters in front of Carnegie Hall on Friday: some two dozen of them, Ukrainians and their supporters, pointing to Mr. Gergiev’s friendship with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, and the maestro’s support for Mr. Putin’s policies, especially the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea.… But in the hall … the audience showered Mr. Gergiev and his performances with adulation, without evident regard for his politics.”

Posted April 14, 2014