Unesco names Putin pianist as goodwill ambassador

Unesco names Putin pianist as goodwill ambassador


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2014

One of the most politically compromised wings of the United Nations has appointed a brilliant pianist – who happens to be a close associate of Vladimir Putin’s – as its goodwill ambassador. Denis Matsuev (left) is a wonderful artist. We wonder what he’s doing with discredited Unesco.

Press release here.

matsuev gergiev


  • One assumes Matsuev has satisfied the state requirement that anyone in its employment be of heterosexual orientation. They fire anyone who hasn’t: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/gay-russian-tv-host-don-boycott-olympics-article-1.1428103

    Tchaikowsky himself wouldn’t have a job if he lived nowadays.

  • Branimir says:

    Dear Norman,

    Why “Putin pianist”? So should we also downsize Gergiev to Putin conductor? Bashmet to Putin violist? Netrebko to Putin soprano? Mariinsky, together with Bolshoi to Putin theaters? Furthermore Shostakovich, Hachaturian, even Tchaikovsky to Putin composers? And why not Yo Yo Ma to Obama cellist etc? All that went too far in my humble opinion.

  • Helsen says:

    Wonderful pianist indeed. Saw him a couple of times w the lso. Why is unesco discredited?

  • V.Lind says:

    Doesn’t always take Israel’s side, which tends to be reported in the Israeli press as “always takes Arab side, ” Not QUITE sure that’s true.

  • Alex says:

    It seems hypocritical to raise this issue without connecting it with other examples of the instrumentalizations of arts/artists in different countries around the world, and different politicians. I don’t see any difference in the approach to these processes in US, Russia, Asia… if the arts/artists are (potentially) misused in US/EU, we are Ok with that, because it is a “instrumentalization helping the democratic values” (!?), and if it is done in Russia, this is the autocratic/totalitarian, and completely unaccepted? Same goes with the situation in Ukraine – international law should be applied to everyone. However, I don’t see a principle here – it is just a global power play.

  • Daniel Gorgoglione says:

    “wonderful artist”??? Says who? No question about it, the boy can play the piano, but he’s a terrible musician.

    • Stefan says:

      Thank you Daniel! I had to suffer the guy twice (Rachmaninov 3 and Shostakovich 2) with Gergiev conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Kirov Orchestra and there was no music…