Gergiev to the Dutch: ‘I feel your pain’
July 31, 2014 by norman lebrecht
A statement by Valery Gergiev on the downing of MH17 over the Ukraine is being received with some scepticism in the Netherlands. The statement makes all the right human noises. But it fails to register the conductor’s uncritical support for Vladimir Putin and his adventures in the Ukraine. Here’s the statement in full:
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Saint-Petersburg, 29 July 2014
FLIGHT MH 17 – A STATEMENT FROM VALERY GERGIEV
At this time, my heart, my condolences and my thoughts are with all those who have suffered loss amongst their families and friends. Through more than 25 years of conducting in Rotterdam, I feel very close to the Dutch people and share with them the immense pain of this tragedy.
I categorically condemn this outrageous act of terrorism – and call upon all those, both in the political arena and elsewhere, to do all in their power to put in place measures and safeguards that such a tragedy will never occur again.
I grew up in the aftermath of tragedy and war – and it taught me to believe passionately in peace. For the last 17 years I have been the conductor of the World Orchestra for Peace, inheriting the position from its founder, the late Sir Georg Solti, himself a committed advocate for peace. Together with that orchestra we have given 20 concerts in 14 countries of the world to demonstrate, through music, for peace.
I am convinced that we musicians can only – through our music – try to make statement after statement and show the world that it is possible to bridge barriers of language and culture in the interests of a more peaceful future for our children.
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival in September is about the First World War, commemorating through music the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. We could never have imagined that a tragic event of this magnitude would occur, making the content so actual and real. The victims and their families and friends will be in our thoughts and minds as we perform and I dedicate the festival’s content and its music as a tribute to them, together with a cry from the heart of all of us performing against atrocities of war and terrorism.
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