Politics and protest continue to trail Gergiev

Posted on: February 20, 2015

In a lengthy Thursday (2/19) Los Angeles Times interview with conductor Valery Gergiev, Mark Swed writes that Gergiev “wants to make music, but the West brings up Putin,” who has long championed Gergiev. “The most prominent Russian artist of our time, Gergiev has also become the most controversial because of his support for Vladimir Putin’s policies…. Last week, he finished a month [of performances] in the U.S…. Wherever he went he was greeted by protesters.… International anger toward Gergiev has been building in direct proportion to Putin’s growing unpopularity in Europe and the U.S.… Two years ago he said he initially approved of Putin-backed anti-gay legislation, thinking it was designed only to protect children from sexual predators…. His approval of the Russian annexation of Crimea was for some the last straw.… In Ukraine, Gergiev worries about the Russian-speaking population being made second-class citizens by the nationalists now in power…. Gergiev goes on to note that beyond his association with Putin, he has come in contact with kings and queens and presidents and prime ministers throughout his career and has been friends with some before anyone knew who Putin was. But as a conductor, music is his concern.”

Posted February 20, 2015

Pictured: Valery Gergiev rehearses with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on February 12, 2015. Photo by Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times