Quartet cancels Canada ‘due to an immigration issue’

Quartet cancels Canada ‘due to an immigration issue’


norman lebrecht

April 23, 2017

The YAS Quartet has cancelled a concert in Halifax for the second time because of ‘an immigration issue involving Russian violinist Artem Kolesov.’

Kolesov is the Russian violinist who last week issued an impassioned statement on being Russian and gay in the 21st century. Watch his video here.


  • Mitzi Gropius says:

    The emergence of this gentleman from the closet as a proud new member of the sepia starfish society could not be more irrelevant for any consideration of entry visas and string quartet performance, or of less interest for the vast majority of listeners of classical music.

    • Alexander says:

      +100 🙂

    • Christopher Madden says:

      “sepia starfish society”


      • H Boyle says:

        Sepia starfish is an homophobic slur

        • Christopher Madden says:

          I thought as much. Never heard it before. I can’t find it anywhere. It must be one of those antiquated, rarefied ones beloved of nasty dinosaurs.

          Norman Lebrecht (or whoever) should not tolerate this disgusting statement on his website. We need more empathy not less in today’s world. This is what music stands for.

  • V.Lind says:

    While I found his video moving and courageous, I fail to see its connection with Canadian immigration policy and any problems he had with it. Canada had legal gay marriage practically before anyone else — Alex Ross of the New Yorker was one of the earliest Americans to race up to Toronto to marry his partner — and Canadian attitudes int he Justin Trudeau era are about as liberal as they get. I assume the issues have more to do with his re-entry to the United States, which makes it possibly insoluble for Canada but not because this young man is in any way a target. I find the conflation of his sexual issues with the Russians and Canadian immigration issues to be specious, absent a great deal more information suggesting that they are connected.

    And Mr. Kolesov seems to equate his parents’ particular brand of “Christianity” with everyone else’s. These people seem to be the Russian equivalent o the American so-called Christian Right, which are in almost every particular the Christian Wrong. A good many Christian streams are extremely tolerant of homosexuality. (The C of E would probably have to close down of all their gay clergy departed). Even the Catholic Church, which takes the view that men lying with men is wrong, in no way suggests or would ever condone, let alone encourage, punishment by death — the official position has long been to hate the sin but love the sinner, and I believe Pope Francis has been working to relax that.No-one who belongs to the Catholic or C of E faiths, or probably to the Lutherans or many of the others, has much time for these nasty “Christian” evangelicals who are much more interested in screeching rightwing politics and milking their public — for that is all they are — for every penny they can get. Not saying the mainstream Christians are free of their own problems and sins and crimes, but this ain’t one of them.

    • Respect says:

      How did you come to the conclusion it was a sexuality issue? Perhaps you haven’t noticed there are certain “tensions” between Russia and the west recently.

      • V.Lind says:

        I was referring to the fact that Slipped Disc tagged Canada with what seemed like an obstructionist attitude to this young man followed by a link to his apologia pro sua vita video, which was not discussing immigration problems but his sexual orientation and the concomitant problems for a Russian. The conflation struck, and strikes, me as wrong.

        • MWnyc says:

          The issue of Kolesov’s sexuality doesn’t (from what we can see here) have anything to do with his immigration issues, whatever they may be.

          And, as easy as it may be to leap to conclusions, Norman’s mention of the video Kolesov made implies no connection to his immigration troubles.

          Remember, Kolesov made the news with that video just last week. When a journalist today is writing an item about an individual who made news just last week, that journalist is going to mention that previous news story. This will be to remind the reader, so that s/he thinks, “Oh yeah, I was reading about this same guy just last week.”

          Any journalist who didn’t include that reminder would be negligent, and any editor who was paying attention would give that journalist a metaphorical whack upside the head for basic negligence.

    • Bruce says:

      I couldn’t find anything saying his immigration difficulties are connected with his sexual orientation..?

  • Myrtar says:

    His issue has nothing to do with Canada but with his immigration status in the USA. He is most likely applying for asylum in the U.S. (like many gay Russians have done over the past years) since he can no longer return to Russia, and therefore can’t leave the country during the process (doing so means he might be denied entry, a risk not worth taking).