Brave Moscow students denounce pro-War principal

Brave Moscow students denounce pro-War principal


norman lebrecht

March 22, 2022

Two weeks ago, the principal of the Gnessin School of Music, Mikhail Khokhlov, conducted his students on Youtube in the first movement of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, wearing a T-shirt with the pro-War symbol Z.

Today, members of that orchestra, together with Gnessin graduates and teachers past and present, have issued a powerful condemnation of the principal’s shameful political act. Among the signatories are Daniil Trifonov and Evgeny Kissin.

Some have left the country, but a significant number remain in Russia.

We salute their courage.

Here’s what the students say:

On March the 6th, 2022, the YouTube channel “Gnessin World Channel” published a video entitled “Gnessin Virtuosi – muZical Offering”. In this video, the “Gnessin Virtuosi” orchestra of Gnessin Moscow Music School played the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The orchestra was conducted by the School principal, Mikhail Sergeyevich Khokhlov, who, for this occasion, donned a t-shirt sporting a large letter Z.
We, former students and graduates of Gnessin College, as well as its teachers, condemn this shameful action in strongest possible terms and consider it a horrible stain on the history of our school.
This action is a grave injury to the reputation of one of the best music schools of the world, and an insult to the honour and memory of Gnessin School famous former teachers.
We further consider it abhorrent for the principal to have recruited underage students for this ugly publicity stunt, as well as to have used the school as a vehicle for expression of his personal militaristic worldview.
The above-mentioned video was taken down from YouTube on March 21st, yet by that time thousands of people around the word had watched it. Moreover, as of today, it is still accessible on the official website of Gnessin School and via VK social network.
We would like to use this opportunity to remind you, Mr. Khokhlov, that our School is not just walls that you have had repainted, not just the building that you saved from takeover. The School, emphatically, is all of us, not you personally. We, therefore, in our capacity of representatives of the School, reject your views and your stance on this matter in strongest possible terms.
George Avetisov
Maria Andreeva
Boris Andrianov
Catherine Antokolskaya
Ekaterina Apekisheva
Tiger Akhumyan-Balyan
Tali Balan
Michael Balan
Rostislav Balchunas
Maria Bogomolova
Alexander Brodsky
Mikhail Brodsky
Alexey Brunie
Dmitry Bulgakov
Lina Vartanova
Ulyana Volkova
Alexey Volodin
Alexander Gordon (Zemtsov)
Sergey Grokhotov
Sofja Gülbadamova
Olesya Dvoskina
Timur Jafarov
Alexandra Dzyubenko
Nikolai Dobkin
Andrey Doynikov
Polina Egudin (Kozhevnikova)
David Yezhov
Michael Zakaryan
Ekaterina Zeynetdinova
Diana Gontarenko
Leo Iomdin
Lyalya Kandaurov
Yuri Kalnits
Michael Kaplouhi
Anait Karpova
Marina Katarzhnova
Eugene Kissin
Alexander Cobrin
Akmal Kosimov
Mikhail Krasnenker
Mila Kuznetskaya
Alexandra Kuzma
Ivan Lazebny
Elizabeth Leonova
Konstantin Lifshitz
Victor Maslov
Daria Marshinina
Nune Melikyan
Alexey Melnikov
Mikhail Mordvinov
Miriam Milgram Harat
Roman Mints
Victor Omelyanovich
Maryana Osipova
Maria Ostroukhova
Margarita Pavlova
Eugenia Peschanskaya
Alina Petrova
Anastasia Petrova
Irina Pisareva
Nadezhda Podgornaya
Anna Prokopyeva
Elena Portnaya
Anna Putnikova
Sergey Putnikov
Michael Rudoy
Ilya Rubinstein
Alexey Savinkov
Sergey Samushkin
Cyril Sedov
Dmitry Selipanov
Diana Serbina
Pavel Serbin
Dmitry Son
Katya Scanavi
Boris Slutsky
Anastasia Sologub
Asya Sorshneva
Yekaterina Starodubrovskaya
Anastasia Stasevich
Alexey Steblev
Maria Surovtseva
Marina Tarasenko
Polina Tarasenko
Natella Thevdoi – Burmuli
Eugene Tonkha
Daniil Trifonov
Julia Alina
Elena Fatahutdinova
Elena Fichtengolts
Michael Fichtengolts
Eugene Franchuk
Khakhulina Perks
Tyr Hisambeev
Anastasia Chernyak
Andrey Chaporov
Mikhail Chaporov
Alexey Charykov
Yana Chekina
Roman Chistyakov
Andrei Cholokyan
Alexander Shaikin
Daniel Shiposha
Timur Yakubov
Nikolai Yaushev


  • Taras Bulba says:

    Bravi, tutti!

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Let us pray that these brave people and their families do not suffer severe consequences. The ghosts of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky are alive and well in Putin’s Russia

  • Ira says:


  • music lover says:


  • Konstantin Lifschitz says:

    My name is Lifschitz, not Lifshitz

  • Felix says:

    True Russian heroes! Russia’s reputation in the world will depend on citizens like these. Putin has done more damage to Russia and its reputation in the world than anyone else in living memory. If the Russian people do nothing to stop this, then they too will be tainted for generations to come.

    • Brettermeier says:

      „Russia’s reputation in the world will depend on citizens like these.“

      No. Russia’s reputation lies in ruins, much like Mariupol.

      It’s their individual reputations and consciences they can save. Maybe.

  • Thomas M. says:

    A brave act, indeed! In a country you’ll now get arrested for just holding up a blank sign. The “artists” otoh who publicly support Putin should FOREVER be ostracized in the West and never work there ever again!

  • soavemusica says:

    I became interested in this video forbidden by youtube.

    Having watched the forbidden material I learned it was the conductor wearing the Z-shirt, not the kids, who played astonishingly well.

    I guess youtube needed to protect me, because I cannot be trusted to form my own opinions. Like in Putin`s Russia.

  • Dave says:

    A great answer to those Putin apologists who say go easy on Russian musicians who fail to condemn their illegitimate President and his obnoxious coterie. The Gergievs and their like should never again profit from or be accepted in the free world – may that free world soon include Russia.

  • None of those who are on this list are actual members of the orchestra, students or teachers of the school, except Olesya Dvoskina. All others have left the school years ago.