Rotterdam Philharmonic cuts ties with Russian conductor Valery Gergiev

Princess Beatrix meets Valery Gergiev in 2013. Photo: Jan de Groen

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra has cut its ties with Russian conductor Valery Gergiev because he has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

Gergiev has worked closely with the orchestra for decades and the news means the Gergiev Festival planned for September, will not now go ahead.

‘There was contact with Gergiev last night and the divide is unbridgeable,’ the  orchestra said in a short statement.

Describing the decision as painful from a musical perspective, the orchestra’s board said it is the only option. Gergiev, 68, has conducted the orchestra as both guest and chief since 1988.

The Munich Philharmonic has also severed its ties with the Russian as has the Scala in Milan, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

In 2014, Gergiev signed an artists’ appeal that supported the annexation of Crimea and in which he stated his clear support for Putin’s political views.

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