Prominent conductor dropped over Putin ties

Prominent conductor dropped over Putin ties

Prominent conductor dropped over Putin ties

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was dropped by his management company over his ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin.

The 68-year-old Russian had been represented since 2020 by Munich-based Marcus Felsner, who started his own management company that year after leaving Opus3.

“In the light of the criminal war waged by the Russian regime against the democratic and independent nation of Ukraine, and against the European open society as a whole, it has become impossible for us, and clearly unwelcome, to defend the interests of Maestro Gergiev,” Felsner said in a statement.

Gergiev is the music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and its White Nights Festival, as well as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. The Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation recipient is close to Putin and expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Felsner called Gergiev “the greatest conductor alive and an extraordinary human being with a profound sense of decency” yet criticized Gergiev because he “will not, or cannot, publicly end his long-expressed support for a regime that has come to commit such crimes.”

The move by Gergiev’s management comes just ahead of a deadline Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter imposed on Gergiev to publicly denounce the invasion. If Gergiev does not comply, Reiter has said he will remove him as chief conductor of the band.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra said it would drop the Russian’s planned festival there this September if he does not stop supporting Putin.