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Hundreds of Prominent Musicians Sign Open Letter Urging Institutions to Support Russian Artists

 

Around 800 musicians, including some of the biggest names in the business, have come together to sign an open letter that protests the "blanket boycott" of Russian artists.

The signatories include Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Antonio Pappano, and Edward Gardner, among others.

"The unconscionable war that Putin’s totalitarian regime has unleashed against sovereign Ukraine, where Russian tanks and missiles are targeting innocent civilians, cannot be justified in any way," the letter begins.

"We fully endorse the sanctions and diplomatic pressure being brought against Putin’s regime and its henchmen, against its advocates, propagandists and information-manipulators whose links to Putin and his government are clearly documented."

"However, not all Russians and Belarusians, and certainly not all cultural figures of these two nations, support this terrible invasion. Therefore, we find it unjust to condemn Russians or Belarusians for the actions of the dictator and his supporters without any direct evidence of their collusion."

In some cases, music institutions in the West have been quick to condemn Russian artists or to re-program Russian repertoire. The young Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, for instance, recently lost three engagements with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal simply because the orchestra felt it was inappropriate to host Russian soloists in the current climate.

Russian cellist Anastasia Kobekina found herself in a similar situation, as organizations decide whether or not to ban Russian artists based on their nationality.

However, some Russian artists, especially those who are in the early stages of their careers, feel that they cannot speak out against the Russian regime for fear of retribution, especially for those musicians who still have family members living in Russia or Ukraine.

The open letter aims to protect and support musicians who may find themselves in similar situations, urging our musical institutions to refrain from performing virtue by canceling all Russian players indiscriminately.

You can read the letter, as well as sign the Change.org petition, here.

 

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