facing the music
Russian conductor Valery Gergiev is no longer scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall this weekend amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Gergiev, a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was set to conduct with the Vienna Philharmonic on a U.S. tour beginning on Friday at Carnegie Hall, but he has now been replaced by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, The New York Times reports.
A spokesperson for Carnegie Hall told NPR the change was made due to "recent world events."
Gergiev appeared in an ad for Putin during his 2012 presidential campaign, and he also supported Russia's annexation of Crimea and was given a Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation award.
Carnegie's executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson, previously defended Gergiev, telling The New York Times in September, "Why should artists be the only people in the world who are not allowed to have political opinions? My view is you only judge people on their artistry." But the invasion of Ukraine has sparked widespread condemnation by world leaders, and President Biden said Thursday it would make Putin into a "pariah on the international stage." Activists were expected to protest if Gergiev conducted as scheduled.
According to The Associated Press, Milan's Teatro alla Scala has also told Gergiev he must make a statement supporting a peaceful resolution in Ukraine or he can't continue an engagement there.
"We are asking him to take a clear position against this invasion, and in the case in which he doesn't do it, we are constrained to renounce the collaboration,″ Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala told the AP. "It is clear that the culture can go on other levels, but in front of such a situation we need to act."
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, another Putin associate, is also no longer scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall with Gergiev.