Putin’s cellist plays solo on Palmyra ruins

Putin’s cellist plays solo on Palmyra ruins


norman lebrecht

May 05, 2016

We hear that President Putin’s financier cellist Sergei Roldugin played a quadrille by Rodion Schchedrin in the Valery Gergiev concert tonight in Syria.


gergiev palmyra

Word is coming out of Russia that the Mariinsky orchestra musicians were not informed of the trip until this morning when President Putin sent them a video message:

‘I know that today’s action involves all participants in great inconvenience and danger, staying in a country at war, with close proximity to the ongoing hostilities… This requires great effort and definitely personal courage from you all.’

sergei roldugin palmyra

In addition to Putin’s cellist, Tchaikovsky Competition winner Pavel Milyukov played a Bach Chaconne.

The concert was shown on Russian television as an exercise in national pride and soft power.

Hostilities continued in Syria today despite the ceasefire.

You can watch the concert here:


  • Olassus says:

    The baseball cap is one of the great inventions of all time, is it not? Keeps the raindrops off your glasses, the sun out of your eyes, the bald patch out of sight, and your identity discreet.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Creepy as hell, given that this is the same amphitheater where ISIS executed 25 Syrian soldiers almost a year ago. Maybe let some more time pass before you display your soft power. Maybe don’t hold cultural events in this amphitheater for another 10-20 years. Or ever.

    • Taty says:

      the message was to commemorate them and all who died of terrorism

    • Raouf Zaidan says:

      I am a musician and this makes me feel disgust and shame that filthy politicians can use us and our art as a way to sugar coat and justify their dreadful and wicked behavior.

  • Bickfords says:

    At least it is Classical Music, if this was organised by Australia it would be some disgusting pop music


    • Raouf Zaidan says:

      Adolf Hitler also used classical music as propaganda to promote and justify his deeds.
      What you say above sounds patronizing and insulting of music .

  • Graham Bain says:

    “…Pavel Milyukov played a Bach Chaconne”

    Which one?

  • Marked Pollo says:

    Raouf, difference is, no one is justifying anything by having this concert.
    It’s more of a middle finger to ISIS, and maybe the West, than anything else.

    I, for one, am pretty much ok with that. Maybe not so much the second part. But unlike some, I can compartmentalize and ignore that, because, more importantly, it’s a biiiig giant middle finger to ISIS. Daesh. Whatever they are called this week.

    And quit comparing Putler to Hitin. I mean, wait…
    Did you expect me to be a Putin fan?
    Honestly, though, a beautiful moment for art and beauty over barbarism and ISIS.
    And that Chaconne was goooood.