Russian conductor Gergiev expelled from Swedish academy over Ukraine
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Stockholm (AFP) – Russian conductor Valery Gergiev has been expelled from his position as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music for his reluctance to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the academy announced on Thursday.
The academy, which cited its relationship with the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin, said it demanded that Gergiev take a stand against the invasion.
“Thanks to his close ties to the Russian government which is attacking Ukraine today, we see that he has acted in a way that we cannot afford not to walk away from,” he told AFP. Susanna Ryden, president of the academy.
“It’s unacceptable and it’s not something the Academy can be associated with,” she added.
A member since 2011, Gergiev held an honorary position at the prestigious Scandinavian institution, which is one of the ten Swedish royal academies, like the academies responsible for nominating Nobel laureates.
The Russian conductor had already been declared persona non grata by European concert halls, in Germany where he had been dismissed from his position as director of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as in France and Italy.
La Scala in Milan also banned Gergiev from performing an opera by Tchaikovsky.
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several cultural institutions have started banning Russian artists.
In the world of classical music, superstar soprano Anna Netrebko has retired from New York’s Metropolitan Opera after refusing to repudiate her support for Putin.
© 2022 AFP