News Column

Valery Gergiev: Political operator

July 23, 2014

l During the 2008 Georgian crisis the Russian conductor (who is from Vladikavkaz in Russian Ossetia) travelled to the South Ossetia capital Tskhinvali to conduct the Mariinsky orchestra in Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony - composed during the Nazi siege of Leningrad and broadly considered a Russian victory ode. The concert was broadcast live on Russian TV and Gergiev made a speech praising "Great Russia" for saving his homeland from "murderous" Georgia.

l Commenting on the Pussy Riot case last year, Gergiev suggested that the band members were using the publicity of hunger strikes to make money.

l Protests were staged at Gergiev concerts last year after Russia passed new anti-gay legislation and the conductor made a statement to a Dutch newspaper equating homosexuals with paedophiles.

l Gergiev defends his position as an artist without borders. He conducts the World Orchestra for Peace, which performed at the BBC Proms on Sunday to a notable number of empty seats in the Royal Albert Hall.

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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

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