Breaking: Bolshoi chief conductor resigns in both Russia and FranceNews
The thoughtful and principled Tugan Sokhiev has communicated his decision to slippedisc.com in English:
I know that many people were waiting for me to express myself and to hear from me my position
on what’s happening at the moment.
It took me a while to process what is happening and how to express those complex feelings that
the current events provoked in me.
First of all I need to say most important thing: I have never supported and I will always be against
any conflicts in any shape and form. For some people even to question my desire of peace and
think that me, as a musician could ever speak for anything other than Peace on our planet is
shocking and offensive.
During various catastrophic geopolitical events our humanity faced during last twenty years of my
career, I always remained with my fellow musicians and we always, together, shown and
expressed the support and compassion for all the victims of those conflicts. This is what we
musicians do, we express things with music, we say emotional things with music, we comfort with
music those who need it. We musicians are the lucky ones to be able to speak this international
language that can sometimes express more than any words known to civilisation.
I am always very proud to be a conductor who comes from such a rich cultural country as
Russia and I am also very proud to be part of rich french musical life since 2003. This is what
music does. It connects people and artists from different continents and cultures, it heals souls
across the boarders and gives hope for peaceful existence on this planet. Music can be dramatic,
lyrical, funny, sad but never offensive! This is what my very fruitful partnership with great Toulouse
orchestra has proved. This is what my fantastic ensemble of Bolshoi Theatre was showing me
every time I conducted performances with them in Russia or on tour in Europe. Both in Toulouse
and in Bolshoi Theatre I regularly invited Ukrainian singers and conductors. We never even
thought about our nationalities. We were enjoying making music together. And it still remains the
case. This is why I started Franco-Russe festival in Toulouse, to show everyone that people of
France and Russia are connected historically, culturally, spiritually and musically and that I am
proud of this connection between our two great countries that I love. This festival is being
opposed today by the politicians and administrators in Toulouse. What a shame. And they want
me to express myself for peace! I believe that this festival can achieve more in building bridges
than political words.
During last few days I witnessed something I thought I would never see in my life. In Europe,
today I am forced to make a choice and choose one of my musical family over the other.
I am being asked to choose one cultural tradition over the over.
I am being asked to choose one artist over the other.
I am being asked to choose one singer over the other.
I will be soon asked to choose between Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Beethoven,
Brahms, Debussy. It is already happening in Poland, European country, where Russian music is
I cannot bear to witness how my fellow colleagues, artists, actors, singers, dancers, directors are being menaced, treated disrespectfully and being victims of so called “cancel culture”. We as musicians are given extraordinary chance and mission to keep human race kindhearted and respectful to each other by playing and interpreting those great composers. We musicians are there to remind through music of Shostakovich about horrors of war. We musicians are the ambassadors of peace. Instead of using us and our music to unite nations and people we are being divided and ostracised.
Because of everything that I have said above and being forced to face the impossible option of choosing between my beloved russian and beloved french musicians I have decided to resign from my positions as Music Director of Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse with immediate effect. This decision should confirm to everyone concerned that I am a very lucky person, to be able to know Bolshoi Theatre artists and Toulouse orchestra musicians. It is always a privilege to make music with all wonderful artists from those two institutions and I will always stand by them as MUSICIAN!!!!!