READ: Valery Gergiev Issues Statement on Gay Rights

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Nov 10, 2013 11:13 PM EST

After disruptions outside his recent Carnegie Hall concert and in London, Valery Gergiev--music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky and one of the most in-demand and influential conductors in the world--has finally broken his silence.

The protests swirled around recent anti-gay legislation from Vladimir Putin, and as Gergiev is known to be close to the Russian leader (as well as the most prominent musician in Russia), protesters have targeted his performances and demanded that he renounce Putin's policies.

Finally, Gergiev issued a statement, strongly denying that he has any anti-gay feelings whatsoever. It reads:

"I am aware of the gay rights protest that took place at the Barbican last week prior to my concert with the LSO. I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theatre this is our policy. It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people. I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends. I collaborate with and support all my colleagues in the endeavour for music and art. This is my focus as a conductor, musician, artist and as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra."

It is not clear that anyone at all informed about the issue seriously thinks Gergiev ever was homophobic. And a look at many of the musicians whom he has employed, and indeed who owe their careers to him, very quickly reveals that his casting has been solely based on musical merit. But the crowds wanted a statement.

And now, they have one.

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TagsValery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky, Carnegie Hall

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