Most believe Toronto was wrong to fire Lisitsa

Most believe Toronto was wrong to fire Lisitsa


norman lebrecht

April 08, 2015

A sampling of informed opinion, taken by the Globe and Mail suggests that opinion as shifted massively against the Toronto Symphony for bowing to a minority lobby in dismissing an artist from its concerts.

The Toronto Star headlines its editorial: ‘TSO should not have dropped pianist Valentina Lisitsa‘.

Lisitsa, in an interview with the Kremlin-owned broadcaster, RT (below), says ‘I always separated music from politics… I was about to play Rachmaninoff concertos with the orchestra, not to preach politics.’

Yellow Lounge - Valentina 2



  • MacroV says:

    It’s hard to disagree with the editorial. But if Lisitsa wants to give herself any credibility, she does herself no favors by appearing on RT, as blatant a propaganda tool as the Russians have.

    • Anon says:

      RT might be doing propaganda for Russia, but how is that different from CNN and many others, who do propaganda for the US?

  • Mark Stratford says:

    But say LSO had stopped Gergiev conducting because of his Pro-Putin stance.
    How would this have been reported on Slipped Disc ? A good or bad thing ?

  • Erwin Poelstra says:

    What can a concert artists learn from this affair? Cherish your privacy and be careful with public social networking services. Avoid controversy. It’s fine to have outspoken views on various subjects, but as a public figure you better write them down in your personal diary or share them with intimate friends in real life. Be diplomatic when you give an interview. Or, better still, remember Sviatoslav Richter’s words: “My concerts are my interviews”.

    • Sam McElroy says:

      Awful advice. Only the brave can change the world. Artists are not immune from the consequences of atrocious politics, and some of them feel a sense of duty to give “power to the powerless”, as Havel put it, through creative dissent.

      • Erwin Poelstra says:

        What nonsense. Musicians should be busy making music, it’s not their task to try to “change the world” by giving their (questionable) political views to whoever wants to read them.

        • Paul says:

          You should tell that to Beethoven for example….

          • Erwin Poelstra says:

            He wouldn’t hear me… (btw, I was talking about modern-day performers, not composers)

        • Janis says:

          The rest of us can open our mouths and say what we think — why should musicians shut up? Taking that on as a profession doesn’t mean you sign away your civil rights.

  • Sherry says:

    Do you need more people to speak up about this decision? I think the TSO can do better.

    Lisitsa has a particularly puerile, black-and-white, sledge-hammered, sensationalist manner of proclaiming her simplistic views—not unlike how she plays the piano. It’s just easier to fool with music.

    But I’ll assume they hired her to make money off her substantial fanbase, and fans were outbid by the donor, as it were.

  • Janis says:

    On the one hand, I think that people can’t be surprised if their opinions also stir up other people’s opinions.

    One the other hand, when I find posts here about composers who tortured and maimed wives and mistresses or advocated what amounted to genocide — and whose music is still considered part of the classical canon — I can’t help but raise an eyebrow just a wee bit.