Gergiev takes men-only orchestra to Syria

Gergiev takes men-only orchestra to Syria


norman lebrecht

May 05, 2016

We hear that women players have been left out of the Mariinsky orchestra that will play tonight at Palmyra.

The Russian forces that helped reconquer the historic town cannot guarantee their safety.

The concert will be broadcast on TV channel Russia 1 at 1800 Moscow time, and later on RT.

The music: Prokofiev Classical Symphony; J S Bach Chaconne from Partita in D Minor for solo violin; and a Rodion Shchedrin operatic interlude.



  • Malcolm James says:

    And they can guarantee the safety of the men? Or are men disposable?

  • DESR says:

    Clearly not ‘disposable’, but better to get on and do this concert, than expose yourself to unnecessary or culturally unacceptable risks.

    Surely we can rise above the ‘VPO angle’ at a moment like this.

    • Malcolm james says:

      I appreciate that, but does not being able to guarantee their safety mean that they cannot guarantee that women are particularly at risk of sexual attention and worse, or is it that there’s a civil war on there?

  • Holly Golightly says:

    I think it speaks more about the torpid politically correct mindset of which we are all – or most of us – absolutely exhausted, sick and tired.

  • Nick says:

    Some of the comments on this site just get more and more ridiculous. So what does it matter whether the orchestra was made up of men and women or only men? Although the contexts are different, did it matter who was in the orchestra when the Berlin Wall fell and Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s 9th? Do we even remember? Of course not! Both concerts are symbols and will be remembered as such. We in the west may despise Putin’s regime. But the concert was a significant contrast to the monstrous evils going on in that part of the world – evils that the west had a major hand in creating – and a reminder of the loss of yet another of the world’s great heritage sites.

  • Marked Pollo says:

    AHEM! Attention please.

    Besides, this US kid playing Gershwin in Iraq:
    No offence, but that Iraqi orchestra… needs work. Which makes sense, tbh, and they have my support and sympathy.

    And so do the Russians. This concert == biiiiiiiiiiig huge giant skyscraper of a middle finger to ISIS.
    And upon listening, you will find that the Chaconne is naice. So guut.

    And Norman seems to have a hard-on for Putin. For which he’d get arrested in Russia. But I digress.

    I seem to have a hard-on for commenting on this particular series of articles, tbh. Last comment, I swear. Just, as much as I dislike the man… This was a class-act. I almost respect him.