Pro-Putin conductor Valery Gergiev replaced at New York’s Carnegie Hall

While La Scala in Milan asks him to clarify his positions vis-à-vis Russia, the musician, faithful to the master of the Kremlin, was ousted at the last minute from the prestigious New York hall.

The famous Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, reputedly close to Vladimir Putin, was excluded at the last minute from a series of performances this weekend at Carnegie Hall because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, announced Thursday the prestigious New York venue.

His replacement at short notice by the musical director of the Met Opera in New York, Yannick Nézet-Seguin, was announced jointly by Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which Gergiev was to conduct for three concerts from Friday.

“This change is due to recent events in the world”, told AFP a spokeswoman for Carnegie Hall, while no reason is given in the official statement. A call to protest in front of the concert hall on Manhattan’s 7th Avenue, inaugurated in 1891 and where the greatest musicians, from George Gershwin to Miles Davis, have passed, had been launched on Facebook.

On Thursday, the prestigious Scala in Milan already asked the globe-trotting conductor to plead publicly for a “peaceful solution” to the conflict, threatening to separate from him for two upcoming performances of The Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky, scheduled between March 5 and 13.

Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra also specify that pianist Denis Matsuev, also a supporter of Vladimir Putin, will be absent on Friday when he was supposed to perform.

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Director General of the prestigious Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, Valery Gergiev, 68, is one of the most sought-after conductors in the world.

His closeness to Putin, whom he has known since 1992, and his loyalty to the Russian president on the annexation of Crimea, as well as his participation in concerts in bombarded South Ossetia and in Palmyra alongside the Syrian army, have been the subject of much controversy over the past decade.

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