Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

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Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:11 am


John F
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:44 am

The orchestra is wrong. They say, "As one of Canada's most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world's great works of music." Just so. They should not be hiring and firing soloists on the grounds of the artists' or the audience's political beliefs. If Toronto's Ukrainian-Canadians were then to demonstrate against Lisitsa, let them. To prevent it by firing her is anti-arti and morally cowardly. Also, who will maintain that "Toronto pianist Stewart Goodyear," whoever he is, can give as good a Rachmaninoff performance as Valentina Lisitsa? Those who bought tickets to those concerts should at least be offered their money back.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:14 am

John F wrote:The orchestra is wrong. They say, "As one of Canada's most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world's great works of music." Just so. They should not be hiring and firing soloists on the grounds of the artists' or the audience's political beliefs. If Toronto's Ukrainian-Canadians were then to demonstrate against Lisitsa, let them. To prevent it by firing her is anti-arti and morally cowardly. Also, who will maintain that "Toronto pianist Stewart Goodyear," whoever he is, can give as good a Rachmaninoff performance as Valentina Lisitsa? Those who bought tickets to those concerts should at least be offered their money back.
Agree. Whatever happened to free speech? The only people offended by what she said were rich oligarchs in Ukraine.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:27 am

I also agree in the case of a soloist or singer. But it's more complicated in the case of a potential music director, isn't it? Individuals such as Thielemann and Gergiev have to be careful (or should be) about exercising their freedom of speech because a less than popular point of view or position can directly affect attendance, fund raising, etc, and constantly bring negative attention on the whole institution.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:28 pm

piston wrote:I also agree in the case of a soloist or singer. But it's more complicated in the case of a potential music director, isn't it?
Which isn't the issue here. Guest conductors are not fired because of their politics; Gergiev continues to conduct at the Met despite demonstrations against him in front of the house.
piston wrote:Individuals such as Thielemann and Gergiev have to be careful (or should be) about exercising their freedom of speech because a less than popular point of view or position can directly affect attendance, fund raising, etc, and constantly bring negative attention on the whole institution.
In Europe, not so much, because of government subsidy of the radio orchestras and of opera companies whose orchestras often give concerts. Thielemann's career hasn't been noticeably hampered because of his outspokenness (or his habit of resigning on the slightest pretext). In the United States, where music directors are expected to help with public relations in aid of fundraising, what you say is quite true. But since neither Thielemann nor Gergiev are in the running for such a position here, or have shown any interest, it's not an active issue.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:47 am

Interesting that Canada's top classical music news medium, La Scena Musicale, has not posted anything about this whole mess. But this silent treatment is not surprising and the odds are the pro-Russian Ukrainian pianist will be "boycotted" far and wide in that country for years to come.

Another consequence of highly politicized statements by c.m. artists is how they can fuel hatred in an otherwise peaceful country. The young pianist who was called upon to replace Lisitsa, Stewart Goodyear, was rapidly targeted by activists most of whom, I suspect, have no interest in classical music. Consequently, and after he had rehearsed the Rach 2 concerto with the orchestra, the performance of that work was cancelled because of the "mob hysteria" and of how Goodyear had been "bullied into declining the engagement".

Consequently, Goodyear took a shot at Lisitsa for his whole ordeal, calling her an "ambassador for hatred":
With all due respect to the pianist who I was going to replace, one must own one’s opinions and words, and have the courage to defend her position without hiding behind the pseudonym, “NedoUkarinka“. Her words offended many people who perceived her as pro-violence and anti-love. Her most recent “plea” to her fans and followers to attack the orchestra that released her of her performance schedule was unfortunate. Free speech has consequences, and one most own one’s position. Dragging other people who have nothing to do with her position does nothing constructive.

Her attitude, and the mob-like behavior of her devotees, censored Rachmaninoff’s second concerto. It is no longer on this week’s program.

Many people demanded that I respond to their Twitter tirades. Here is my response: I am an artist, not a politician; a lover of all people, not an ambassador for hatred; a human being with a name, not a pseudonym.
http://www.musicaltoronto.org/2015/04/0 ... ntroversy/
Last edited by piston on Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by lennygoran » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:56 am

maestrob wrote:
Agree. Whatever happened to free speech? The only people offended by what she said were rich oligarchs in Ukraine.
This made me think about the Met Klinghoffer controversy-it may not be completely analogous but it seems similar to me? One difference I can see is that at least with Klinghoffer there seemed to be an attempt to present all sides of an issue. Regards, Len

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:10 am

John F, you haven't heard of Stewart Goodyear? Google is your friend.

http://www.amazon.ca/Beethoven-The-Comp ... B008OHV4GA

Meanwhile, the plot thickens -

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/mu ... quits.html

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:12 am

piston wrote:Interesting that Canada's top classical music news medium, La Scena Musicale, has not posted anything about this whole mess. But this silent treatment is not surprising and the odds are the pro-Russian Ukrainian pianist will be "boycotted" far and wide in that country for years to come.

Another consequence of highly politicized statements by c.m. artists is how they can fuel hatred in an otherwise peaceful country. The young pianist who was called upon to replace Lisitsa, Gordon Stewart, was rapidly targeted by activists most of whom, I suspect, have no interest in classical music. Consequently, and after he had rehearsed the Rach 2 concerto with the orchestra, the performance of that work was cancelled because of the "mob hysteria" and of how Stewart had been "bullied into declining the engagement".

Consequently, Stewart took a shot at Lisitsa for his whole ordeal, calling her an "ambassador for hatred":
With all due respect to the pianist who I was going to replace, one must own one’s opinions and words, and have the courage to defend her position without hiding behind the pseudonym, “NedoUkarinka“. Her words offended many people who perceived her as pro-violence and anti-love. Her most recent “plea” to her fans and followers to attack the orchestra that released her of her performance schedule was unfortunate. Free speech has consequences, and one most own one’s position. Dragging other people who have nothing to do with her position does nothing constructive.

Her attitude, and the mob-like behavior of her devotees, censored Rachmaninoff’s second concerto. It is no longer on this week’s program.

Many people demanded that I respond to their Twitter tirades. Here is my response: I am an artist, not a politician; a lover of all people, not an ambassador for hatred; a human being with a name, not a pseudonym.
http://www.musicaltoronto.org/2015/04/0 ... ntroversy/

Uh, Stewart Goodyear. Stew-art Good-year. Like the tire company. LOL.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:15 am

maestrob wrote:
John F wrote:The orchestra is wrong. They say, "As one of Canada's most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world's great works of music." Just so. They should not be hiring and firing soloists on the grounds of the artists' or the audience's political beliefs. If Toronto's Ukrainian-Canadians were then to demonstrate against Lisitsa, let them. To prevent it by firing her is anti-arti and morally cowardly. Also, who will maintain that "Toronto pianist Stewart Goodyear," whoever he is, can give as good a Rachmaninoff performance as Valentina Lisitsa? Those who bought tickets to those concerts should at least be offered their money back.
Agree. Whatever happened to free speech? The only people offended by what she said were rich oligarchs in Ukraine.
Bad assumption. There are at least a zillion Ukrainians in Canada, many of them the first settlers in western Canada. PM Harper has led the way in an anti-Russian, pro-Ukrainian stance within NATO and the G8. It's good domestic politics.
Also Ukrainian-Canadians tend to be strong supporters of the Arts, so what happened isn't difficult to understand, even though it is wrong.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e23830400/

More background -

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e16647646/

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:17 am

John F wrote:The orchestra is wrong. They say, "As one of Canada's most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world's great works of music." Just so. They should not be hiring and firing soloists on the grounds of the artists' or the audience's political beliefs. If Toronto's Ukrainian-Canadians were then to demonstrate against Lisitsa, let them. To prevent it by firing her is anti-arti and morally cowardly. Also, who will maintain that "Toronto pianist Stewart Goodyear," whoever he is, can give as good a Rachmaninoff performance as Valentina Lisitsa? Those who bought tickets to those concerts should at least be offered their money back.
Right from the start patrons were offered their money back. At this point, the concert has been cancelled entirely.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:19 am

piston wrote:I also agree in the case of a soloist or singer. But it's more complicated in the case of a potential music director, isn't it? Individuals such as Thielemann and Gergiev have to be careful (or should be) about exercising their freedom of speech because a less than popular point of view or position can directly affect attendance, fund raising, etc, and constantly bring negative attention on the whole institution.
Case in point on Gergiev.

http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/new ... lian-visit

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:41 am

Sorry, Henry. I first wrote Stewart Goodyear and then changed it to Gordon Stewart for no valid reason. Just a morning mental cramp. So I shall revise again.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:43 am

slofstra wrote:John F, you haven't heard of Stewart Goodyear? Google is your friend.

http://www.amazon.ca/Beethoven-The-Comp ... B008OHV4GA

Meanwhile, the plot thickens -

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/mu ... quits.html
Not his fault, just mine..... :oops:
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:47 am

piston wrote:Sorry, Henry. I first wrote Stewart Goodyear and then changed it to Gordon Stewart for no valid reason. Just a morning mental cramp. So I shall revise again.
No problem. Stewart Goodyear is well known to classical music fans here in Canada from his concert appearances and exposure on CBC Radio.

He's also a stunt marathon Beethoven piano sonata player, a newly emerging crossover between extreme sports and the Arts. Maybe at the next Olympics?

https://www.rcmusic.ca/connecting/rcm-b ... n-marathon

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:48 am

piston wrote:
slofstra wrote:John F, you haven't heard of Stewart Goodyear? Google is your friend.

http://www.amazon.ca/Beethoven-The-Comp ... B008OHV4GA

Meanwhile, the plot thickens -

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/mu ... quits.html
Not his fault, just mine..... :oops:
You made an honest mistake. John's was an intentional slight. (Not that I'm actually concerned about either one.)

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:26 am

If Goodyear knew the reason why Lisitsa was fired, he shouldn't have agreed to replace her. Morally, that is, but of course moral principles don't help the bank balance.

The orchestra claims it had the "contractual right" to replace Lisitsa. That's surely nonsense. Did the contract actually specify what Lisitsa was and was not permitted to say, outside the concert hall? Or that she could be canceled for any reason or no reason? Let's see the document.

I still maintain that the orchestra owes ticket-buyers their money back if they want it, since at least for some the inducement to buy was Lisitsa.

Are there any Canadian pianists other than Glenn Gould who have become well known outside Canada? Have there ever been? Maybe my ignorance is showing, but maybe not.
John Francis

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:59 am

Off the top of my head: Marc-André Hamelin, André Mathieu, and, particularly, Ellen Ballon:
She was a child when she made her New York debut in March 1910, playing concertos of Mendelssohn (G minor) and Beethoven (C major) with the New York Symphony under Walter Damrosch. In 1912 President Taft invited her to perform at the White House (she returned to play for President Roosevelt in 1934 and for President Eisenhower in 1954). She continued her studies in New York with Josef Hofmann and in Vienna with Wilhelm Backhaus, and when she returned from Europe to play with the New York Philharmonic under Josef Stransky (Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 4, 31 Jan 1921), she was a fully developed concert pianist. However, she continued her studies with Alberto Jonas in New York until at least 1925 and appeared again with the New York Philharmonic in the 1925–6, 1929–30, and 1932–3 seasons. She began her first major European tour in 1927, appearing with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw orchestras, and then settling in London. She gave private recitals for Princesses Beatrice and Helena Victoria at Kensington Palace, appeared in public recital (eg, International Celebrity Series, 1936–7), and toured in Great Britain and Scandinavia. She returned to North America before the war and eventually settled in Montreal.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:00 am

John F wrote:If Goodyear knew the reason why Lisitsa was fired, he shouldn't have agreed to replace her. Morally, that is, but of course moral principles don't help the bank balance.

The orchestra claims it had the "contractual right" to replace Lisitsa. That's surely nonsense. Did the contract actually specify what Lisitsa was and was not permitted to say, outside the concert hall? Or that she could be canceled for any reason or no reason? Let's see the document.

I still maintain that the orchestra owes ticket-buyers their money back if they want it, since at least for some the inducement to buy was Lisitsa.

Are there any Canadian pianists other than Glenn Gould who have become well known outside Canada? Have there ever been? Maybe my ignorance is showing, but maybe not.
Canada certainly punches its weight, and maybe more so.

No doubt, you've heard of:

Marc Andre Hamelin.
Angela Hewitt.

The following are additional favourites based on concert performances over the years:

Anton Kuerti ... Beethoven, Czerny
Janina Fialkowska ... Chopin
Andre Laplante .... Liszt
Louis Lortie
Angela Cheng

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:07 am

Thanks!
John Francis

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:22 pm

John F wrote:Thanks!
Fialkowska's story is an interesting one. A recent Chopin disc was chosen by BBC Music Magazine as the "Instrumental CD of the Year" for 2013. But this accolade came after decades of live performance and a low profile internationally, and a more recent battle with cancer during which she could not perform at all.

From wikipedia -

In January 2002, on the eve of a European concert tour encompassing eight countries, Fialkowska’s career was suddenly brought to a halt by the discovery of an aggressive cancerous tumour in her upper left arm. Following the removal of the malignant mass in May 2002, she subsequently underwent an innovative surgical procedure designed to reconstruct the arm that had been rendered almost useless by the excision of the tumour. During her eighteen months of convalescence, she gave numerous concerts in Europe and North America, performing music written especially for the left hand by Ravel (Concerto for the Left Hand) and Prokofiev (Piano Concerto no. 4), which she adapted for performance with the right hand. Both the public and the critics were unanimous in their admiration of her courage and the high calibre of these unusual and challenging performances[4] for example with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. In 2004, Fialkowska made a triumphant return to the stage as a two-handed pianist, first with a highly anticipated recital in Germany,[5] followed by Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in Toronto.[6] Since then, she has resumed active touring ....

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:13 pm

Ballon was the reason why Villa-Lobos composed his first piano concerto and she also was at the piano for that work's world premiere:
Composer Villa-Lobos, Heitor
Opus/Catalogue Number W453
Year/Date of Composition 1945
First Performance 1946-10-11, Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro
Ellen Ballon (piano) ; Orquestra do Teatro Municipal ; Villa-Lobos (cond.)
Dedication Ellen Ballon
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:11 am

The TSO decision has almost been universally derided in the press and online commentary. This is good because we don't want arts organisations to become arbiters of acceptable speech.
The Calgary philharmonic has announced that it is continuing with Ms. Lisitsa's engagement as planned.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:24 am

Good for them! It will be interesting to see whether there's any significant protest on the night. I wouldn't be surprised if the Toronto Symphony secretly hopes there will be, so they can say "We told you so."
John Francis

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by lennygoran » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:37 am

John F wrote:Good for them!
As I recall she was to perform a Rachmaninov piano concerto-that's not controversial at all-surely she should be entitled to her own political opinions. At least with the Klinghoffer the protesters went after a work they said was antisemitic. As it turned out the work as I saw it wasn't antisemitic-it was sure controversial to some and even antisemitic to some who didn't even see it. Regards, Len :(

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by barney » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:41 am

There was a brilliant Australian TV satire called Frontline, parodying current affairs television. The anchor was interviewing an author who, irritated, asks: "have you read the book?" "No," the anchor replies, "and that means I can be impartial."
A lot of criticism seems to take that as its motto.
I think this is more complicated than JohnF seems to think - if I understand aright, he thinks all political opinion is quite separate from artistic virtue. And concert-goers are legitimately concerned only with the latter. My view is that it is artificial to disambiguate the various aspects of an artist's life. Of course any artist is entitled - I'd go further, and say is morally obliged - to hold political and social opinions. But if they want to express them in a public forum - possibly using the credence their artistic stature gives them to attract public attention - then they must accept that there may be a hostile public reaction. I don't say they have to be silent; I do point out that Lisitsa's views on Ukraine will attract attention that mine, for example, will not, and that she knows this.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:31 am

barney wrote:My view is that it is artificial to disambiguate the various aspects of an artist's life.
And yet we do it all the time - it's quite normal. Indeed, it's arguably the most accurate and even honest way to assess a piece of music or a performance. Turn on the radio while some music is playing that you don't recognize, or by a composer you never heard of. Must you look up the composer's biography before you can assess the music? Or the music may be familiar but you don't know who is performing it, or you don't recognize the name when it's announced. Can you assess the performance before you've looked up the performer's politics and found whether they're correct?

There have been places where the official answer is no, you can't, but neither Canada nor the U.S. is that kind of a tyranny. If we allow our qualitative judgments to be swayed by reputations or extra-musical considerations, to that extent we aren't judging the music at all. Carried to an extreme, as it has been during my lifetime, that way lies the exclusion of women from orchestras because they are women, and banning the music of Mendelssohn or the playing of Arthur Rubinstein because they were Jewish. Or, alternatively, blocking Wilhelm Furtwängler and Walter Gieseking from performing in the U.S. after World War II because they had remained in Germany and part of German musical life during the Nazi era.

I do indeed believe that political opinion and musical artistry are irrelevant to each other. Both issue from the same mind, of course, but there's no evident causal relationship between them, and it's a gratuitous complication to introduce the one when ostensibly concerned with the other. Lisitsa has made no such connection; she hasn't stated her opinion from a concert platform to a concert audience, merely posted on her own Facebook page. We shouldn't make that connection either.
John Francis

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:46 am

I hope all goes well in Calgary. Over 1.2 million Canadians self-identify as Ukrainians and the largest Ukrainian provincial population is in Alberta. Edmonton, not that far from Calgary, ranks first among all Canadian cities for its Ukrainian population (Calgary ranks fifth). Ten percent of the country's Ukrainian population still speak that language and many more have cultivated their ethnic identity.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by lennygoran » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:21 am

barney wrote: But if they want to express them in a public forum - possibly using the credence their artistic stature gives them to attract public attention - then they must accept that there may be a hostile public reaction. I don't say they have to be silent; I do point out that Lisitsa's views on Ukraine will attract attention that mine, for example, will not, and that she knows this.
I spent some time trying to see these tweets-finally got to here-apparently you have to put in this password and then they come up-a little hard to understand-I've never tweeted and only texted one time. Regards, Len

PW-MusicalToronto

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/614 ... _Posts.pdf

Regards, Len

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:48 am

The TSO director, who has been much criticized lately, revealed the following information last night to a reporter. Several members of the c.m. community in Toronto and beyond alerted the orchestra's direction that Lisitsa's tweet messages, some seven pages of them, were so anti-Ukrainian that they might qualify as hate speech.
http://www.scena.org/brand/brand.asp?la ... -283048361
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by lennygoran » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:20 am

piston wrote:Several members of the c.m. community in Toronto and beyond alerted the orchestra's direction that Lisitsa's tweet messages, some seven pages of them, were so anti-Ukrainian that they might qualify as hate speech.
Interesting-I found this interesting too:

"When asked about a similar controversy surrounding the New York Metropolitan Opera’s decision to cancel the broadcast of John Adam’s The Death of Klinghoffer over accusations by a lobby group suggesting the opera was anti-Semitic, Mr. Melanson declined to comment. Instead the conversation turned to conductor Valery Gergiev, another highly political figure involved in the Russian- Ukrainian conflict, who publicly called the current Ukrainian government ‘fascists’ and went to far as to endorse the annexation of Crimea. Gergiev was dropped from a festival in Germany last November after the Polish Embassy registered a complaint."

I think I read that a wealthy donor-maybe more than one-put pressure on to drop her. That's what may have forced Gelb to suspend the HD on Klinghoffer. Regards, Len

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:43 am

piston wrote:Several members of the c.m. community in Toronto and beyond alerted the orchestra's direction that Lisitsa's tweet messages, some seven pages of them, were so anti-Ukrainian that they might qualify as hate speech.
But they don't. The TSO president says, "After analysing the document, it is our opinion (we are not lawyers) that they do not cross the threshold into hate-speech." According to Wikipedia, "In Canada, advocating genocide or inciting hatred against any 'identifiable group' is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada with maximum prison terms of two to fourteen years. An 'identifiable group' is defined as 'any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.' It makes exceptions for cases of statements of truth, and subjects of public debate and religious doctrine." Clearly, nationality is not protected by the law, and the status of Ukraine is obviously a "subject of public debate."

This is not to defend whatever Lisitsa has said; I don't know or care what she said. It's about her right to say it, within the limits of the law, and not to be mistreated for having said it. The TSO president himself has admitted that Lisitsa did stay within the limits of Canadian law. The orchestra deplorably yielded to pressure from a segment of local public opinion. They shouldn't have.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by Ricordanza » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:09 am

lennygoran wrote:
barney wrote: But if they want to express them in a public forum - possibly using the credence their artistic stature gives them to attract public attention - then they must accept that there may be a hostile public reaction. I don't say they have to be silent; I do point out that Lisitsa's views on Ukraine will attract attention that mine, for example, will not, and that she knows this.
I spent some time trying to see these tweets-finally got to here-apparently you have to put in this password and then they come up-a little hard to understand-I've never tweeted and only texted one time. Regards, Len

PW-MusicalToronto

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/614 ... _Posts.pdf

Regards, Len
I agree with you, Len, that it was hard to understand some of these tweets. There's a kind of "shorthand" that her followers undoubtedly understand. What I do get from these tweets is that this supposedly grown, educated and cultured woman has, in some respects, never advanced from her teen or pre-teen mindset and is also capable of small-mindedness at best and bigotry at worst. But I also agree with those who say that her concert appearances should not have been cancelled because of these tweets.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by lennygoran » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:54 am

Ricordanza wrote: I agree with you, Len, that it was hard to understand some of these tweets. There's a kind of "shorthand" that her followers undoubtedly understand. What I do get from these tweets is that this supposedly grown, educated and cultured woman has, in some respects, never advanced from her teen or pre-teen mindset and is also capable of small-mindedness at best and bigotry at worst. But I also agree with those who say that her concert appearances should not have been cancelled because of these tweets.
Henry thanks-these kids with their tweets and texts and selfies amaze me! :lol: It appears that one point of contention is the donor issue-he says-she says?

"When asked about a possible donor threat, Mr. Melanson said, “There was no pressure whatsoever by donors. That is complete fabrication, and she is basically distorting the truth and making this up. We did not cave to pressure by one lobby group over another, and we absolutely are not taking a position politically between Russia and the Ukraine. This is really about offensive tweets about people by Ms. Lisitsa.”

Ms. Lisitsa had a different account. She told the Globe this was definitely a donor issue, and could prove it. “Ms. Lisitsa showed The Globe and Mail an e-mail from her agent, Tanya Dorn at IMG Artists, dated Feb. 27, in which Ms. Dorn said she had spoken with Loie Fallis, TSO vice-president of artistic planning, who told her (in Ms. Dorn’s words) a “Ukrainian donor wants to pull his sponsorship.”

Ironically if Lisitsa is right some might argue that having money withheld from a big donor might be an important issue in cancelling the pianist. Gelb had donor pressures with Klinghoffer and he reached a compromise-some would say he had no choice with the Met in such serious trouble financially.

Then the Gergiev case:
"Valery Gergiev, another highly political figure involved in the Russian- Ukrainian conflict, who publicly called the current Ukrainian government ‘fascists’ and went to far as to endorse the annexation of Crimea. Gergiev was dropped from a festival in Germany last November after the Polish Embassy registered a complaint." Seems to me he is entitled to his political viewpoint-then I think of Putin who I do not like!

Then you have a case of antisemite Wagner but with great operas. Each case is different and complicated. Regards, Len :(

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by John F » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:05 am

In Germany, speech is less free than we may suppose. For example, any public utterances that can be interpreted as pro-Nazi are illegal. Of course we understand why, but is the German people so ignorant of their nation's recent history, and so morally weak, that it must be protected in this way? That, of course, is for the Germans to decide, and the laws were passed by a democratically constituted legislature so presumably the German people are censoring themselves. We censor ourselves too, but on different grounds and for different reasons.
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by lennygoran » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:13 am

John F wrote: That, of course, is for the Germans to decide, and the laws were passed by a democratically constituted legislature so presumably the German people are censoring themselves. We censor ourselves too, but on different grounds and for different reasons.
Yes the German's can pass such laws and others from other places can criticize those laws. Regards, Len

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:06 am

lennygoran wrote:
John F wrote:Good for them!
As I recall she was to perform a Rachmaninov piano concerto-that's not controversial at all-surely she should be entitled to her own political opinions. At least with the Klinghoffer the protesters went after a work they said was antisemitic. As it turned out the work as I saw it wasn't antisemitic-it was sure controversial to some and even antisemitic to some who didn't even see it. Regards, Len :(
99.9% of Canadians agree, Len. The .1% happens to include the director of the TSO. Sometimes the power goes to their heads, but the TSO decision has drawn universal disapprobation.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:14 am

barney wrote:There was a brilliant Australian TV satire called Frontline, parodying current affairs television. The anchor was interviewing an author who, irritated, asks: "have you read the book?" "No," the anchor replies, "and that means I can be impartial."
A lot of criticism seems to take that as its motto.
I think this is more complicated than JohnF seems to think - if I understand aright, he thinks all political opinion is quite separate from artistic virtue. And concert-goers are legitimately concerned only with the latter. My view is that it is artificial to disambiguate the various aspects of an artist's life. Of course any artist is entitled - I'd go further, and say is morally obliged - to hold political and social opinions. But if they want to express them in a public forum - possibly using the credence their artistic stature gives them to attract public attention - then they must accept that there may be a hostile public reaction. I don't say they have to be silent; I do point out that Lisitsa's views on Ukraine will attract attention that mine, for example, will not, and that she knows this.
No one has a problem with "a hostile public reaction". But a direct intervention in her professional career on the basis of her political views is way, way over the bar.
It's interesting that we barred a pianist with unacceptable political views but a comedian who was also an alleged rapist played here recently without management interference. Yes, I do think it's okay to bar performers who have engaged in illegal activity. So, if Lisitsa had advocated murder or genocide (illegal in Canada) that would have been just cause to terminate her contract. As it is, I believe she should be paid her performance fee.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by slofstra » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:26 am

A previous sorry chapter in TSO history occurred in the McCarthy witch-hunt era. If you read through the story you'll see how TSO management and even the musicians' union acted in a morally reprehensible and opportunistic manner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_Six

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by starrynight » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:21 am

With social media now it's possible for someone to get their views across on things totally unrelated to their fame because of the immediate and widespread distribution of such communication. In the past such opinions would probably not get great circulation as in most circumstances people don't really care about the political views of musicians, they tend to be far more interested in their views on music. Of course if they had real knowledge and expertise in some political area that could change matters, but normally they will just have the usual biases and prejudices of most people.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by barney » Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:54 pm

starrynight wrote:With social media now it's possible for someone to get their views across on things totally unrelated to their fame because of the immediate and widespread distribution of such communication. In the past such opinions would probably not get great circulation as in most circumstances people don't really care about the political views of musicians, they tend to be far more interested in their views on music. Of course if they had real knowledge and expertise in some political area that could change matters, but normally they will just have the usual biases and prejudices of most people.
Very true.
Just for clarification - I do not believe the TSO should have cancelled the appearance. But I do think Lisitsa was naive if she thought her tweets would disappear into the general morass. It is possible - I have no way of knowing - that she hoped her musical stature would add weight to her political opinion. Or she may simply have felt so strongly that she would not be denied a voice, an interpretation suggested by the sheer volume of tweets. Or both possibilities may be true.

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by SONNET CLV » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:04 pm

Whatever her politics, perhaps Valentina Lisitsa deserves a more flattering photo than the one posted at the start of this thread.

Image

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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by piston » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:23 pm

Honorable for her own people, no doubt. And so was the Serbian female student I once met, during the Yugoslav war (who, of course, would not have admitted about prior Serbian war crimes because, as a loyal Serbian, she had not looked that way).

Controversial political matters, such as Russian-speaking and feeling Ukrainians, are best left out of classical music when Ukrainian-speaking and feeling Ukrainians are losing control over their territory. Valentina took sides; Valentina should thus expect opposition, and plenty of it, from Ukrainian-speaking and feeling people. And there's a bunch of them in Canada. I sincerely don't know what she's whining about: your tweets asked for it!
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Re: Valentina Lisitsa boycotted by TSO over Tweets

Post by Lance » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:31 pm

Indeed, the picture you posted is much more like her ... it's as I remember her when I prepared her pianos for concerts. That was a few years ago, but I have also changed since a few years ago!
SONNET CLV wrote:Whatever her politics, perhaps Valentina Lisitsa deserves a more flattering photo than the one posted at the start of this thread.

Image
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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