Melanson’s gone, Valentina’s back

Melanson’s gone, Valentina’s back


norman lebrecht

April 12, 2016

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s last president Jeff Melanson earned himself a good deal of global discredit a year ago by bowing to pressure from local Ukrainians and cancelling a concerto date with the virulently pro-Russian, pro-separatist pianist Valentina Lisitsa.

Now Melanson has gone for reasons unconnected with post-Soviet politics and, days later, Listisa ia back in Toronto.

Review here.


lisitsa zakharchenko


  • V.Lind says:

    The city of Toronto never banned Lisitsa — the TSO did. As I recall, she was trying to put together a solo recital in the area — in Mississauga or thereabouts — just after the controversy. It failed because of some sort of dodgy sponsor.

    The Conservatory can do what it likes. And in view of this review, from a credible source, we can assume the pianist was in pretty good form. TSO fans would have heard that if she could have tempered her remarks, but they drew the line at calling people pigs and neo-Nazis. How extraordinarily censorious of them. I note the Conservatory put in a disclaimer to her views. Not sure I respect that having it both ways posture better than TSO’s “pay her off and get her out of here” openness.

    Kudos to her, though, for giving her page-turner a bit of her stage. I have had Anastasia Rizikov on my radar for a while, and she is definitely one to watch.

    • B.K. says:

      How awful, that someone would refer to (literal) neo-Nazi (figurative) pigs as “neo-Nazi pigs”. Surely a gifted musician would simply never!

  • Eddie Mars says:


    The bullying embezzling scrote Melanson has been vanquished – and Valentina is playing once again in Toronto!

    Let’s hope no musicians ever again have to work with this vile pig Melanson!!

  • Milka says:

    One suspects Mars would be hard pressed to make an intelligent statement if his life depended on it . Did the conservatory invite her to play or were they pressured ….
    If it was an invite how unfortunate they would invite such a minor talent if it
    could be called that . Does not speak well for the Royal Conservatory and one would
    think twice about sending an unsuspecting youngster to the conservatory if the
    conservatory considers this performer a talent worth hearing .What a comedown
    for the conservatory.The review was as laughable as the piano player .

    • Eddie Mars says:

      As if anyone gives two hoots what *your* risible opinion on musical performance is??

      Stick to Liberace, Milker? It’s all you and your fellow trolls can manage. At least your pals Steven Holleraway, “Nick”, “John”, don’t make make fools out of themselves by trying to write about music here… it’s only you that lets fly with the asinine ignorance that’s uniquely yours! Bwaaaaahahahaha!!! :))

  • Bruce says:

    Isaac Stern refused to play in Germany and Wagner is banned in Israel. Germany & Isaac Stern got along very well without each other, as have Wagner and Israel. Lisitsa can be banned by any country/organization that objects to her, and can refuse to play wherever she chooses to. I have a hunch that both Lisitsa, and anywhere she doesn’t play, will be just fine.