Protests greet Russian musicians who signed pro-Putin letter

Posted on: June 17, 2014

In Saturday’s (6/14) Boston Globe, Jeremy Eichler writes about protests at recent performances by touring Russian musicians who signed a letter in March of this year endorsing the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. At a Boston recital last Saturday by pianist Denis Matsuev, a pro-Ukrainian group was “planning its own cultural event called the Arts Against Aggression Street Festival, to take place before the recital.… Last month, a man was arrested at another … performance, this one by conductor Vladimir Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi,” a confrontation that was captured on YouTube. “Valery Gergiev has been similarly embattled in New York and Munich…. The pro-Putin stance of these musicians is … prompting a larger debate…. Some of their defenders have quietly wondered how free these musicians really were to reject the Kremlin’s call for endorsements…. With the Russian government so financially invested in artistic life, can mainstream Russian classical artists really be expected to oppose Putin?… ‘I don’t believe anybody was forced to sign anything,’ said the Moscow-based conductor Constantine Orbelian…. ‘You can always just keep quiet.’ The pianist and conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, who is a son of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, voiced a similar opinion, in response to questions submitted by e-mail. ‘There is always a choice.’ ”

Posted June 17, 2014