Gergiev trots out Tchaikovsky winners for Putin’s benefit

Gergiev trots out Tchaikovsky winners for Putin’s benefit


norman lebrecht

November 07, 2019

Valery Gergiev, Vozhd of the Tchaikovsky Competition and much else in Russian musical life, staged a concert for President Putin in which all the category winners of the last contest were required to perform.

They were: Aigul Khismatullina (soprano), Anastasia Kobekina (cello), Mark Bushkov (violin), Alexey Lobikov (trombone), Kim Gihun (baritone), Maria Barakova (mezzo-soprano), Matvey Demin (flute), Sergey Dogadin (violin), Zheng Yun (French horn), Konstantin Emelyanov (piano), Alexander Kantorow (piano).

Putin seemed pleased.

photo: RIA-Novosti


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I cannot imagine post Putin era anyone will be required to present a classical music concert for the President. Like the Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev, the future presidents are likely to be much more interested in hard rock music. I doubt that in the future any classical musician in Russia will have as much power & influence as Gergiev (I am sure he knows that).

  • Imagine winners of a classical music competition being given a high profile celebration by an American President. (Not that I’m a fan of Putin.)

  • Aaron Herschel says:

    Shame on these artists to perform for a dictator.
    Why not support the free world and perform for Trump instead ?

  • Olassus says:

    Putin supports music!

  • AnySchiffInAStorm says:

    AKA Tchaikovsky Competition winners given high-profile showcase concert.

  • michel says:

    We know you don’t like Poutine ans Gergiev but just Imagine the same thing with Donald Trump ! It’s seems impossible. At least the russian elite considers classical music as an important and valuable thing.

    • AnySchiffInAStorm says:

      I believe last week Trumpty-Dumpty was supporting culture – he had a ringside seat at Madison Square Gardens for the UFC fight. That’s the only level at which his shrunken American brain can function.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        The thing which is interesting and slightly appealing about Trump is that he so easily triggers the Left and has them reeling in endless, spiraling and self-defeating contortions. He knows how to do this expertly and most of us are actually laughing!!

        When in a massive culture war you need the biggest, most effective and fearless weapon and, by god, that’s why you’ve got one!!

  • Robert Groen says:

    Yet more evidence of the threat Putin poses to the world?

  • Music Lover says:

    Kobekina did NOT win the cello category.

  • Peter van Laarhoven says:

    Excuse me? This was simply the last concert of a Mariinsky residency at Zaryadye Hall which president Putin chose to attend. But of course objective reporting on anything related to Gergiev is the last you can expect on this website.

    • Dennis says:

      Interesting. So this article was roughly the equivalent of saying that some American baseball players were recently “required to perform” for Trump, just because he happened to attend a game.

  • Dennis says:

    “Required to perform?” Did Gergiev put a gun to their heads? Do you use the same overblown language when musician perform at events attended by the Queen, the British PM, US President, etc?

    Putin ought to be commended for having good taste. Most contemporary politicians would rather be seen watching some pop or hip-hop junk in order to better appeal to the masses.

  • Robert Bordeaux says:

    Can’t help but trying to imagine our own (American) leader listening to this concert. It would be torture for him. And Putin loves to torture people. He should have invited his American friend. Sorry for this rotten thought. But all best wishes and appreciation to the wonderful musicians. Thank you so much for your beautiful work.