Exclusive: Royal College of Music suspends pro-Putin professor

Exclusive: Royal College of Music suspends pro-Putin professor


norman lebrecht

August 02, 2022

The RCM have just informed us that Alexander Romanovsky, Professor of Piano, has been suspended with immediate effect.

Romanovsky had himself filmed with pro-Putin individuals, making music in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The RCM say he will face a ‘formal disciplinary process’ on his return to the UK.




  • Uncle Sam says:

    Kudos for the RCM! As to the Romanovsky – he’ll be fine: his chances to win the coveted tenure to become the Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chair of Piano Studies at the Royal Mariupol Conservatory are very, VERY high now!

  • Roman says:

    Unbelievable?.. but you know, after Assange’s extradition to usa.. the Man who showed to all the world what can do democracy when it wants to kill someone, I am not surprised.

  • Romano Vafanculo says:

    Imagine, a music critic who places his own political beliefs over the art he professes to love. Who could not in a thousand years of practices do anything other than punch a few computer key.

  • CGDA says:

    What is happening in the Ukranian invasion is horrendous but there is no real legal basis for this suspension. It seems to simply be a way for the RCM to preserve a good image but it is very dangerous. Where would they draw a line when it comes to political associations and affiliations?

  • 5566hh says:

    Seems like a violation of academic freedom. Absolutely Putin and indeed this professor should be condemned, but doesn’t he have the right to his (unreasonable, cruel) views?

    • David says:

      Under democracy where each life is valued equally, we relinquish the right to many things, including taking other people’s lives, infringing upon other people’s freedom, and endangering others. Freedom of speech and freedom of belief are not absolute. We do not have the freedom of speech to discriminate and harass others, and we are not free to practice ideologies that violate other people’s lives. In this case, his views have nothing to do with “academic freedom”. It’s because of supporters like him that the war continues and countless lives and livelihood are being taken. It is not surprising that institutions that want to uphold democratic values will want to remove these people.

      • Sisko24 says:

        I would add to the list of exceptions to freedom of speech: we don’t have the right to libel/slander someone.

  • SVM says:

    I thought the UK was supposed to be a country that valued freedom of speech and freedom of association, and that our current government had created robust legal safeguards to protect these freedoms in Higher Education Institutions. Regardless of your views on the current conflict in Ukraine and the Donbass, it is surely a good thing for a world-class pianist to go and perform for people living in a city that has been devastated by this conflict. The people of Mariupol should not be deprived of live music just because they are unfortunate enough to be living in an area of armed conflict and territorial dispute.

    I trust that the Royal College of Music will reverse this groundless suspension, the timing of which is incredibly suspicious, immediately.

    • clarrieu says:

      “The people of Mariupol should not be deprived of live music” What are you talking about? Most of the “people of Mariupol” are either refugees somewhere, or lying in mass graves. Serenading russian soldiers over 10.000 civilian corpses is surely worth a ban…

  • Piano fan says:

    No shortage of fine piano professors in the world – they seem to almost be a surplus. Better to find one who doesn’t kowtow to dictators.