Riga Jurmala Music Festival cancelled in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Unlike other concert series and festivals that have simply cancelled performances by Russian artists, the Latvian festival has been scrapped entirely, pledging its support to the people of Ukraine following the Russian invasion
This year's Riga Jurmala Music Festival in Latvia has been cancelled in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The festival's programme had included Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, a friend and supporter of Putin, who has been dropped by his management, had concerts and festival appearances called, and is now facing the removal of his title of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic.
The festival issued a statement today announcing the news, saying that 'changes have been made to the Festival's trustees and management with further ones to follow.'
The Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev had two concerts scheduled at the festival, one with Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov and another with violinist Janine Jansen.
The festival has not explicitly stated the reasons for cancelling this year's season, but it's a decision that has been echoed today by the Verbier Festival who 'asked for and accepted the resignation of Valery Gergiev as music director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra.' The festival also returned 'donations from any individual sanctioned by a western government' and pledged to 'exclude all artists who have publicly aligned themselves with the Russian government's actions.'
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.