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Orchestras fire Russian conductor Valery Gergiev for continued support of Putin

Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Putin
Posted at 10:18 AM, Mar 01, 2022

BERLIN — A renowned Russian conductor has been fired from his post with the Munich Philharmonic because of his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and for not rejecting the invasion of Ukraine.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter said Tuesday that 68-year-old Valery Gergiev was removed after he didn't respond to Reiter's demand to "revise his very positive assessment" of Putin.

Gergiev is a friend and supporter of the Russian president and had been Munich's chief conductor since the 2015-16 season.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic in the Netherlands also cut ties with Gergiev, saying "an unbridgeable divide" between the orchestra and conductor on the issue of the Russian invasion became clear after speaking with him. In addition, The Guardian says the Scala in Milan, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg have also cut ties with Gergiev.

The Guardian also reports that Gergiev's former manager dropped him as a client over the weekend. Marcus Felsner said that while he still believes Gergiev is the "greatest conductor alive and an extraordinary human being with a profound sense of decency," they could no longer work together.

"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.