Just in: Valentina Lisitsa to give two Toronto concerts

Just in: Valentina Lisitsa to give two Toronto concerts


norman lebrecht

April 23, 2015

The pianist whose anti-Kiev tweets prompted her cancellation by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, under pressure from a Ukrainian donor, has announced two recitals in the Toronto area next month.

She will play recitals at the Meeting House in Oakville at 8 p.m. on May 8 and 9, both for charity, with tickets priced at C$24.95. Details here.

Lisitsa has made her point. The TSO has been left looking foolish and soiled by its act of censorship.

lisitsa toronto


  • Mikey says:

    please stop repeating the “a Ukranian donor” myth.
    the cancellation did not come about because of the actions of one person/organization.

    • Anonne says:

      She is the one who started this story, which appears unfounded.

      • Brian O'Connor says:

        You’re accusing the reporter from The Globe and Mail of lying?

        “Mr. Melanson said in a phone interview there was ‘absolutely no donor pressure.’ Ms. Lisitsa showed The Globe and Mail an e-mail from her agent, Tanya Dorn at IMG Artists, dated Feb. 27, in which Ms. Dorn said she had spoken with Loie Fallis, TSO vice-president of artistic planning, who told her (in Ms. Dorn’s words) a ‘Ukrainian donor wants to pull his sponsorship.'”

  • Robert Hairgrove says:

    Now it will be interesting to see exactly which charities are involved.

    • Karen says:

      The concert proceeds will benefit 2 charities, namely Noah’s Ark Wetlands Foundation and the Canadian Journalists Defence Fund.

  • Mike says:

    you really like her ha?

  • Milka says:

    What nonsense ! Oakville doesn’t add up to a spit in the ocean . It is in all reality a suburb
    of Toronto …a place you might drive through to get to the big city .One never mentions
    having a triumph in Oakville …. Lisitsa might think she is fooling the world in giving concerts
    in Toronto but Oakville ain’t Toronto by a long shot .

    • Andy says:

      Correct. It would be like giving a recital in White Plains or Flushing, and calling it New York City.

      A mighty steep tumble if you ask me.

      I guess this story needs some kind of a punctuation to bring things to a conclusion, but an Oakville recital is like a hyphen to nowhere.

      Somewhat like – – – – – – –

  • Geoff Radnor: says:

    Dear Milka, Where are you from?
    Oakville is close enough to the sprawl of Toronto to attract many music lovers, those without prejudice. Someone just rented the hall of the church and is putting on two concerts. I wish that her shows get sold out and the charities are thankful. If she ever comes to Ottawa I would pay to go and hear her play.

    • Milka says:

      The only reason a top artist would come to Ottawa would be for the money,its world cultural arts
      standing must be on the same level as PortMcNicoll .

  • Karen says:

    Hey Milka, watch what you say about Oakville – do you really need to offend hundreds of thousands of residents of beautiful Oakville by denigrating it ? Oakville has one of the highest per- capita income in Canada, and has a thriving arts, music and cultural community.

    What is known as ‘Toronto’ is actually a large metropolitan area and part of what is called The Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Oakville _IS_ part of the Greater Toronto Area.

    • Milka says:

      What is now known as the greater Toronto area is a smoke and mirrors game in making
      Toronto appear larger than it is -to give it standing as a large major city . Oakville
      was a dinky little town you passed on the way to ? It was at the beginning an enclave
      for the well heeled and close enough to Toronto for the daily ride . There the moneyed
      built their awfully pretentious and ugly homes ,a vulgar type of architecture solely
      identifiable as Canadians with money ,to this day it is one ugly little town .As to being
      a hot bed of culture the arrival of Ms.Lisitsa belies its aspiration to being a town of
      any cultural standing .Cabbage town has more character and style .

      • Karen says:

        Milka, I’m sorry to see so much anger and hatred in you. Remember, hate injures the hater more than it injures the hated. Peace.

  • StageDude says:

    Both these charities are obscure, and both appear to be the promoter’s projects. His Twitter account says the CJDF was incorporated on March 9th.

  • Greg from SF says:

    Who cares?
    Lisitsa is a good manipulator of piano keys, but a mediocre musical talent.
    Why should her political views mean anything to anybody?
    I hope her concert goes well, but let’s get real here…..she’s just another pretty face with good PR.

    • SDReader says:

      Mediocre? I find her playing gutsy, direct, honest, refreshing. It is never precious or especially nuanced — and so it mirrors the artist.

  • Mike says:

    Something that I thought was interesting and certainly very telling that during this entire scandal not one single eminent orchestra, conductor or chamber music collaborator stepped out and spoke on behalf of Lisitsa and her artistry. Not one, single, significant artistic persona did raise their voice to say: she is a great artist.
    Journalists don’t count and neither do internet trolls with countless re-tweets.

    • william osborne says:

      Are you surprised? From their earliest training classical musicians are taught to obey absolute authority and always march in step. They do not break ranks with power. Classical musicians have their virtues, but for a little relief and a deeper sense of integrity, you might try more individualistic fields like visual artists and writers.

      • Robert Hairgrove says:

        There are others … but you don’t hear about them all the time. One particular concert pianist who DID NOT “march in step” was Gary Graffman, back in 1964 when he was invited to perform in Jackson, Mississippi.

        For those interested, I suggest reading his book “I Really Should Be Practicing” — chapter 18, titled “Explosion in Mississippi”. He took a stand against racial prejudice. I won’t quote any of the text for reasons of copyright. But any of us who grew up in the USA during those years knows (or should know) that this took an enourmous amount of courage.

        • william osborne says:

          And I hope that now, 51 years later he will follow through with his idea to unite the NASM behind better funding for the arts. Unlike Robert Fitzpatrick in the recent discussion on SD, he only mentioned music education and not better arts funding, but the concerns walk hand in hand. The NASM should become more active in its advocacy.

  • Tammy Norman says:

    Lisitsa’s concert at May 9th in Oakville Meeting house has been cancelled.
    What a shame.
    Apparently, pro-Russia trolls and their sponsors were not able to buy 1,500 (1,500 !) tickets.
    Many tickets (close to 1,000 – 1,400) are still available for the venue on May 8th, 2015.
    Don’t miis your luck !