Putin’s pianist is picketed at Carnegie Hall

Putin’s pianist is picketed at Carnegie Hall


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2022

The Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, an adviser to President Putin and a strong supporter of his anti-Ukraine actions, faced demonstrators last night before his appearance at Carnegie Hall.

A larger picket is being organised by Ukrainians for Valery Gergiev’s arrival with the Vienna Philharmonic.




  • Achim Mentzel says:

    I am absolutely convinced that Gergiev will be quite impressed by this and his friend in the Kremlin will tremble with fear.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    Gird your loins, Slipped Disc! Matsuev will be back next week with Gergiev and one of those orchestras from Vienna.


    Sad day for an otherwise fine pianist who now deserves his comeuppance for his allegiance.

    • Cathy Zadoretzky says:

      If only Carnegie Hall and its owner NYC Council would deliver the maximum comeuppance of terminating its presentations of Matsuev and, instead, present more Russian artists who do not capitalize on the spoils of ward.

  • Karl says:

    Were there only three of them? Come back and tell us when they have a convoy of trucks like the one in Ottawa. Now THAT is a protest.

  • Von Carry-on says:

    Aside from Matsuev’s disgusting politics, why why Carnegie Hall present such a crude keyboard basher?

  • wiener says:

    Einfach erbärmlich

  • imbrod says:

    There have been organized demonstrations outside of Carnegie before certain performances for YEARS. Mostly anti-Gergiev/Putin but also anti-Israel. I don’t recall seeing demonstrations when Netrebko sings but I could be wrong.

    • Y says:

      There have been demonstrations against Netrebko at the Met, but generally very small ones.

      Personally, I don’t see the point of these protests. The time to protest a musician is when they’re giving a speech at a political rally, not when they’re playing music.

    • VoDa says:

      These protest has never been anti-Israel, but they are anti-Putin

    • This protest targets only those Russian cultural figures who signed a letter titled “Russian cultural figures in support of the President’s policy toward Ukraine and Crimea.”
      (https://www.mkrf.ru/…/deyateli-kultury-rossii-v…/ ;
      Netrebko is not one of them, even though she is a big Putin supporter.

  • kaa says:

    I wouldn’t call it a demonstration. I counted 6 people and they weren’t making too much noise. I was interested in their appearance, I didnt see any young people, most of the protesters were of a certain age. I dont know what that means. But the concert , especially the Beethoven Op110 and 111 was magical.

    • Maryna says:

      You should get your eyes checked because there was more than 6 of us and I am in my 20s, which is traditionally an age considered “young”. Also, I really hope the blood on your hands didn’t keep you from enjoying the music.

    • VoDa says:

      I counted 16.
      Young people do not know and do not care about Matsuev, as you could probably tell by the age of the most concertgoers

  • Mike B says:

    This is nothing. I happened to be in Cambridge, Massachusetts visiting friends when Matsuev gave a concert at Harvard. The pro-Ukraine folks rented a Steinway, put it in the quad near the concert hall and hired another pianist to play outdoors before and during Matsuev’s concert.

    It’s hard to mount much of a protest at Carnegie because there’s no space and the streets are always packed with pedestrians.

  • A Ukrainian in NY says:

    I am sure that Matsuev maybe regretting that he signed the letter every time attendees of his Carnegie Hall performance have to pass through the reminders of this action. And that’s kind of the point of the protest. If you sign something political, be prepared to the consequences of it worldwide.

    Besides, yes, he is a keyboard basher. When I used to go to his concerts I was terrified for Carnegie’s Steinway. Would be smart to invite a performer who is more elegant. Or a Ukrainian performer for a change!

  • Valentyna says:

    Mixing art with deadly politics of war is Dishonorable! – How immoral must be the artist openly signing a letter supporting aggression against a sovereign state (annexation of Crimea and war in Ukraine)? How unprincipled must be the artist who supports the official anti-American attitude of the Kremlin propaganda, but comes into the enemy territory to earn some cash?

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    An over-hyped story about a handful of protesters that should have stayed at home and listened to some decent Russian music, or Bojo’s new version of Queen’s ‘Don’t stop me now.’ It’s amazing how Bojo’s party were saying the UK was broke not so long ago and suddenly 90 million quid was found to support the Ukraine war effort and sold them arms at the same time.
    As for Mssrs. Matsuev, Gergiev and Putin, I’m sure they’re collectively unmoved by this. Personally, methinks our Bojo is hoping war happens in the hope that it will save his political skin like the ridiculous Falklands ‘campaign’ saved Genghis Thatcher’s.

    • Lev Deych says:

      Here I have an advice for you – stop listening to Russian propaganda and read a bit about the history of Ukraine and Russian behavior. “Ukrainian war efforts” – this phrase unmask you either as a Russian troll on salary or just somebody whose mental abilities are severely limited.

  • Mariana says:

    Atitude needs to be consistent. Those folks should not expect to be cheered after they support murders and lies.

  • Tamino says:

    McCarthyism is back.

  • Richard Willmer says:

    The good point of this man, just like his fellow Little Fox (Valentina), their powers of propaganda are in inverse proportion to their talent.

  • Greg K says:

    I hope these protests grow. Putin’s favorite musicians Matsuev and Gergiev should not be welcome on world’s best stages. These two guys are absolutely cynical and immoral in their heartfelt support and adoration for totalitarian leader Putin and his military aggression against Ukraine and Europe.

  • Lev Deych says:

    What you, guys, need to understand is that people who come to these protests do not aim to disrupt the proceedings. They come because they can’t not come. As Americans and as New Yorker’s they feel compelled to express their outrage at the disgusting behavior of Carnegie board selling their souls for the money of Putin’s oligarchs and willing to serve the aims of Putin’s propaganda on the American soil. To leave this travesty without a response, no matter how small it might seem to some, is simply against the nature of these people. You all shall thank them for their patriotism and their willingness to stand for what is right, rathe than make idiotic comments about their age or appearance. “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence” (Ovid).

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Great to see. They also need to do this to Gergiev, Netrebko, her hideous fascistic husband and other Putin-endorsing Slavic performers.

  • Denitsa Mora says:

    This is so sad!

  • Federico says:

    That man is an opportunist. Stay away from him !!

  • Lena M says:

    Thank you to Norman Lebrecht and Slipped Disc. Those who trample on democracy must be called out, whether it’s on the streets of Ottawa, on the Ambassador Bridge, or on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

  • Oleksiy Petrenko says:

    A) this protest isn’t about impressing or scaring anyone, it’s about showing who’s who, and which side they take. And why.
    B) there’s no such thing as “apolitical” art(ist). No politics is also a political stance, the weakest, btw, as you wholeheartedly agree with what’s happening around you and you relinquish your whatever “vote” on the point in question.

  • Ballerina says:

    Dear all, our brains are being washed over and over by the politicians and the media in order to distract our our attention from the major economical crisis, unemployment, death rates etc.
    Nowadays people read serious literature less and less, listen to the classical music less and less (it’s too complex) analyse things less and less, but are only are reading social media and tabloids. That’s a very positive fact for the politicians, because rulling an uneducated society is easier.
    That’s why it’s so important that the Arts would stay upolitical, connect and embrace people, engage people to like each other, and make them to think to themselves, to appreciate finer things in their lives. Listen to the music, be kind!!!!

    • Lev Deych says:

      Are you talking about yourself, Ballerina, when you describe people as uneducated? Because those people who keep protests again Kremlin propagandists going are very well read, superbly educated, and unlike you, have a keen moral sense.

  • Andrew Zaplatynsky says:

    No different than Furtwangler or Cortot supporting Hitler.

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    It’s interesting to see how so many jump on the bandwagon regarding this story. China’s appalling human rights hardly gets a mention since the Russia/Ukraine story broke on the news and China have been amassing troops on other countries borders for many years and this too is ignored by the media. Of course, the UK do not want to upset the Chinese powers because their money comes in handy in payment for students filling our Universities. Let’s get some balance and perspective in commenting on this issue. Putin, as has been widely reported, is probably just ‘flexing his muscle’ and sticking two fingers up to NATO. The UK and America famously invaded another country based on a lie, therefore neither country can be held up as paragons of virtue in this area.

  • Doppelavatar says:

    It doesn’t seem prudent for an artist to publicly adhere to any ideology and, least of all, to any current government administration but that is, of course, their prerogative as “free individuals,” as is their responsibility to put up with the consequences…

  • Rudy says:

    Both Matsuev and Yuri Temitkanov are just a couple of opportunist, homphobic and intolerant people that just care for the money and the contracts…I feel sorry for them….