Will Gergiev’s performances in Australia draw political protests?

Posted on: April 28, 2014

In Monday’s (4/28) The Age (Melbourne, Australia), Joel Meares writes, “As far as classical tours go, the news is as big as it gets: for the first time in 30 years, the London Symphony Orchestra is coming to Australia this November” to perform in Sydney and Melbourne. “But the LSO may be met with protest, as well as applause, as it goes. Principal conductor Valery Gergiev, who will join the LSO on its tour, has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin that have drawn placards to recent performances in the northern hemisphere. In November, gay rights protesters stood outside the Barbican at an LSO performance … targeting Gergiev for supporting a president whose anti-gay laws were riling the international community. Gergiev released a statement the same month saying: ‘I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done.’ When Gergiev performed separately from the LSO in New York this month, protesters gathered outside Carnegie Hall to condemn the conductor’s support for Mr. Putin’s policies, particularly the annexation of Crimea. ‘Our focus with Gergiev has always been on the music-making,’ said the orchestra’s managing director, Kathryn McDowell. ‘He has never played a role in the governance of the orchestra.’ ”

Posted April 28, 2014