What’s Paavo Järvi doing in Moscow?

What’s Paavo Järvi doing in Moscow?


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2022

Alone among western conductors, Paavo Järvi is reported to have conducted a concert in Moscow with the Russian National Youth Orchestra on the 26th which was the third day of Russian invasion on Ukraine.

Confirmation here.


  • Marcello says:

    There are also a number of non-Russian singers taking part in the new Lohengrin production at the Bolshoi (if its homepage is stll correct).

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      Yes, singers with dependents to feed, mortgages to pay and so on.

      Easy to judge….

    • soavemusica says:

      There are also a number of non-Russian in Russia.

      “Russian National Youth Symphony Orchestra”, such Putinists? Should they protest, in Russia?

      It remains to be seen, if cancel culture succeeds, or ends up serving Putin.

  • John Kelly says:

    Good luck getting out of there

  • Anonymous IV says:

    Paavo Järvi is not the only western conductor guest conducting in Russia now. Also the Austrian conductor Sascha Goetzel is there at the moment, conducting Idomeneo at the Mariinsky Theatre.

  • Anonymous says:

    Maybe he needed some vodka? I’ll never forget his appearance as the driver of a stopped car by the police at an intersection in Cincinnati when he was Music Director of the Symphony. Failed a sobriety test after he repeatedly told the officer that “I was just listening to music”. Cincinnati Symphony swept it under the rug. Classy guy. His father is a great conductor, though.

    • David Kornfeld says:

      How ‘classy’ to refer to something that happened 20 years ago and has nothing to do with this, and sign it with ‘Anonymous’. Luckily we don’t have anonymous judges in the society where I live.

  • Allen says:

    Not “alone among Western conductors”: apparently, Josep Vincent (from Spain) is conducting today at the Mariinsky theatre in St. Petersburg.
    Could anyone please confirm, or deny this (?):

  • MacroV says:

    I can understand honoring a previous commitment, and the war doesn’t appear to have much support in Moscow. Now, if they had launched into the Ukrainian anthem as an encore…

  • Evan Tucker says:

    We can’t seriously believe that a Jarvi is a Putinist can we?

  • double standards says:

    He was also conducting in London during the illegal Iraq war. No one minded then. Funny that.

  • Brettermeier says:

    WTF, Paavo?? I’m disappointed.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Maybe he has not noticed anything unusual.

  • Michaelr says:

    Jarvi’s comment from his website on Ukraine:

    Being an Estonian it is obvious that an attack on Ukraine, an independent country, hits very close to home.

    I arrived in Moscow last week when few believed that Putin would actually start a war. Suspicion and distrust of our large neighbour has unfortunately proven to be well founded.

    Many friends have urged that I should cancel the concert and leave Russia immediately…and to be honest that was my first instinct.

    After thinking about this deeply I have come to the conclusion that this would be defeatist, dishonest and disloyal to the wonderful young musicians of the Russian Youth Orchestra, who feel confused, torn and shocked, and who are against this war as much as I am.

    With this concert I wanted to leave my young colleagues with some love and hope for humanity…Love and hope that might remain in their hearts and memories for the years, maybe decades, of isolation that is surely to come.

    These young people should not and cannot be punished for the barbaric actions of their government. I cannot turn my back on my young colleagues: musicians are all brothers and sisters.

    As a human being and as an Estonian, I hate what is going on in Ukraine. I resolutely condemn the actions of Russian government and Putin!

    I conducted this concert in the Spirit of defiance and deep solidarity with these young artists and in the Spirit of support and solidarity of the Ukrainian people!

    • Manuel says:

      Solidarity with Valéry Gergev because… no one is obliged to declare about his believings. This is one of the fundamental human rights of all Constitutions.

  • Rob says:

    He left an update on his Instagram yesterday, alongside a recent selfie with Alec Baldwin, to say he couldn’t let down the young musicians in Russia and absolutely condemned the actions of the Russian Government and Putin.

  • JJ says:

    What a slap in the face to Estonia.

  • Gustavo says:

    Make music, not war!

  • John Soutter says:

    Järvi is making a film, ‘I am Putin’s Double.’

  • Totel says:

    So what?


    Daniel Barenboim conducted Wagner with the Israeli Philharmonic. Sometimes music is music and apolitical.