The Edinburgh International Festival has joined the likes of Verbier and Lucerne Festivals in cutting ties with the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, owing to his longstanding relationship with the Russian president Vladimir Putin.


A statement was made by the Edinburgh Festival on Monday which read, 'The board of trustees of the Edinburgh International Festival has asked for, and accepted the resignation of, Valery Gergiev as Honorary President of the Festival. Edinburgh is twinned with the city of Kyiv and this action is being taken in sympathy with, and support of, its citizens.'

His resignation from the role of festival's honorary president was effective immediately, and comes after Gergiev's contract as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic was terminated.

He has also been dropped by Verbier and Lucerne Festivals, both of which take place in Switzerland and feature prominent concerts with Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Putin provides funding to the Mariinsky Theatre, of which Gergiev is music director.

The Munich Philharmonic gave Gergiev the opportunity to denounce Putin and the invasion of Ukraine, but the ultimatum was not met – with Gergiev facing yet another major job loss.

Gergiev's upcoming appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Philharmonic and La Scala have been cancelled, while the Riga Jurmala Festival in Latvia has been called off completely as a result of the ongoing conflict.

The Edinburgh International Festival has had a busy week of changes, also announcing the appointment of violinist Nicola Benedetti as its new festival director. She becomes the festival's first female and first Scottish director in its 75-year history.


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Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

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.