Canceling an Artist Because He’s Russian Is Nothing Short of Bigotry

It is a crime that the Ukrainian war of independence has become a constant. Unfortunately, some attempts at solidarity with the Ukrainian population are failing.

Russian restaurants in the U.S. have had windows smashed in and received bomb threats—when their owners have not only condemned the war but aren’t even from Russia. Many buildings with Russian cultural ties were demolished. Many people around the globe are cutting academic and professional ties to Russia. They use a litmus test based on nationality to penalize those who support a war that they didn’t start or may not have supported.

Another embarrassing twist in the history of classical music came from that narrow-minded skeptic. direction last week when a 20-year-old Russian pianist lost a string of engagements across Canada, with both the Vancouver Recital Society and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) saying it would be UnappropriateIt is not possible to hold a Russian artist right now or in the future. The OSM stated that the Russian invasion had had a serious effect on Ukraine’s civilian population. It “must” announce Alexander Malofeev’s withdrawal.

This approach has several problems, the worst being: Malofeev condemned the war in Ukraine—For someone living in an authoritarian dictatorship, it is difficult to find work. Repackaged ethnic and racial discrimination should not be sold as brave. AgainstPeople are purchasing oppression.

This is the truth. Vancouver Recital Society, for its part, initially dropped Malofeev as he wasn’t speaking out strongly against war. Then, he changed his mind. But while the organization said they “appreciate his words”—words that can come with quite the high cost—they stood by their decision. According to the society, it would stand by Ukraine and ostracize and exile all Russians making them global periahs and driving them into Putin’s arms.

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Michael Tilson Thomas (famous conductor at OSM) was meant to perform the role of young prodigy. It was too late for him. Thomas made the following statement: “It’s regrettable that it has been impossible due to political conditions,” They did, however.

JoAnn Falletta (music director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra) would answer your question. No. However, the community was pushing for them to cancel their performances with Malofeev in March. The world continued to turn.

Malofeev’s latest firings perfectly coincided with another puzzling choice: Last week the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra removed composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, calling it inappropriate at this point. The well-intentioned decision is flawed for many reasons. Most notably, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra decided to remove composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky from its last week’s Tchaikovsky concert. They described the music as “inappropriate at this time.”

So, this is the kind of bridge-building we’d expect to need. Regardless of your nationality, origin, or current location, everyone can unite in opposing evil. Music transcends geographical and cultural boundaries. Opposition to war can also transcend cultural and geographic boundaries.

While I believe Russian culture and Russian music should not be affected by this ongoing tragedy, it is difficult to leave now. “Honestly, I have no other choice but to cry and pray,” Malofeev wrote last week in a Facebook message. “It seems there are clear conclusions: No problem can be solved through war and people cannot be judged on the basis of their nationality.”

Choosing to travel the latter road that Malofeev describes—one where someone is deemed complicit because of their birthplace and heritage—is bigotry masquerading as bravery. Courage can be rebuking dictatorial regimes regardless of one’s nationality. Why should you terminate someone just because they have a nationality? It’s cowardice.