Valery Gergiev dismissed as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic
The Russian conductor refused to denounce Putin's invasion of Ukraine, a decision that has led to his dismissal from orchestras, festivals and concerts across the globe
Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was issued with an ultimatum by Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich. If he refused to denounce the Russian president Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, he would be removed from his position as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic.
Gergiev's dismissal from the orchestra comes after he was dropped by his management and removed from several concert and festival line-ups following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His longstanding support of the Putin and refusal to denounce the regime has led to his dismissal as music director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the cancellation of appearances with the Metropolitan Opera and Vienna Philharmonic and concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Lucerne Festival, among others.
The decision has been made by the Munich Philharmonic to remove Gergiev from his post three years before his contract was set to expire. He has held the position since 2015.
'I have clarified my stance against Valery Gergiev and urge him to clearly and indisputably distance himself from the brutal war of assault, Putin against Ukraine and now especially against our partner city Kiev,' mayor Dieter Reiter shared on the Munich Philharmonic's social media channels on Friday. 'If Valery Gergiev doesn't state his position by Monday, he can no longer remain the chief conductor of our Philharmonic.'
Dieter Reiter released a statement today saying, 'I would have expected him to reconsider and revise his very positive assessment of Russia's leader. He didn't.' Gergiev will give no further concerts with the Munich Philharmonic, a decision that has come into immediate effect.
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.