Founded in 1982, the annual Rodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition, which is held in Gorizia, Italy, has withdrawn the invitations of three Russian violinists for the event, citing the war in Ukraine as part of their decision.
“Following the European provisions resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian war, and following the example of other international competitions of various disciplines, we are sorry to inform you of your exclusion from the 41st edition of the 2022 International Violin Competition,” wrote competition president Lorenzo Qualli to the violinists.
“We want to reassure you that there is no discrimination against you as a person. We trust that war disputes will be resolved positively as soon as possible and peace will be restored. [When that happens], we will be happy to have you among the competitors in the next editions.”
Violinist Anastasia Pentina posted on her social media to express her disappointment. “As a person who grew up [and studied] in Austria, any manifestation of discrimination is unacceptable,” she wrote. “When I go to [a] competition, I represent only myself, my university, and my [teacher], Pavel Vernikov, who is one of the best professors in the world and was born and grew up in Odessa, Ukraine.”
After receiving Qualli’s letter, Pentina replied with questions regarding her exclusion — to which she is yet to receive a response — stating that Russian artists are not barred from other prestigious international competitions. Lidia Kocharyan was also one of the artists affected by the ban and similarly posted on her Facebook page.
“It is an incomprehensible and unacceptable choice that goes against the very spirit of the event which has always interpreted music as an instrument of closeness between people, of overcoming borders and of human and cultural freedom,” said the Mayor of Gorizia, Rodolfo Ziberna, according to BLN.
Additionally, the FVG Orchestra, which has traditionally performed with the candidates of the competition, announced that they will not participate this year, according to Intrieste magazine.
“We made the decision at once, upon our own initiative along with our artistic director,” FVG Orchestra president Paolo Petiziol, told TASS news. “Excluding contestants simply for being Russian nationals is a serious incident.”
While they are waiting for a response, the orchestra resolved that they would participate as planned if the competition changed its decision. Either way, FVG “have secured the Gorizia mayor’s permission for the Russian violinists to perform at one of the city’s sites irrespective of the competition,” explained Petiziol.
Many cultural institutions have faced decisions whether or not to include Russian artists since the war in Ukraine broke out in February this year. Artists such as cellist Anastasia Kobekina have similarly lost concert engagements due to their nationality.