Vienna cancels Putin pianist

Vienna cancels Putin pianist


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2023

While Currentzis remains welcome at the konzarthaus, the hall has cancelled a Denis Matsuev recital without explanation.

Just this: Das Konzert musste abgesagt werden. Der Klavierabend Alexandre Kantorow am 13. April 2023 ersetzt das Konzert von Denis Matsuev im Zyklus Klavier im Großen Saal.

The replacement is the French pianist Alexander Kantorow, an anti-war protestor who has given benefit concerts for Ukraine.


  • Arthur says:

    Excellent decision ‘

    • Bill Raven says:

      Denis has not made a single pro-war or pro-Kremlin statement. Being in Russia it is the same as opposing the war, so the decision to cancel his concert seems to be unfair. And the absence of an explanation speaks volumes.

      • Arthur says:

        I think you should dig a bit into Matsuev’s political statements and positions, bro…

      • Tim WALTON says:

        He’s been as Putin puppet for decades. He and anyone else supporting mass murderer Putin should be treated with the contempt they deserve.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Those people cancelling Russian musicians haven’t sufficient intelligence to realize that Putin is an UN-ELECTED dictator and that Chinese pianists – Putin’s major ally – all get a free pass.

        • DanF says:

          Yes – we should only engage musicians from the countries with elected dictators…
          Citizens in countries with dictatorial and authoritarian regimes tend to not have much of a choice in the matter. That doesn’t mean they are satisfied with their current governments.
          It is very easy to moralize from the comfort of a society where basic rights are respected and there is a (theoretical) respect for the rule of law. For people who aren’t so lucky, the cost of opposition can literally be imprisonment or worse.

  • MacroV says:

    Matsuev is far more closely tied to Gergiev and Putin than is Currentzis. And back in 2014 was one of many Russian artists who signed a letter endorsing the Ukraine annexation. Not really a fair comparison.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    If you’ve heard Matsuev play, no explanation for his cancellation is necessary. Why they even engaged such a banger is the real question here.

  • Harry Collier says:

    Matsuev is probably black, or Jewish, or both. You have to have the right racial / sexual / political / ethnic credentials in order to play the piano, the violin, or conduct an orchestra in 2023.

  • Adler says:

    Tickets for this concert stopped selling last spring. A very suspicious story. Smells like fake news. This pianist has never spoken out for or against the war, like many artists and athletes, but one must clearly understand that they are hostages in their country, just as once there were Germans, then Austrians, then others. Dictatorships are always the same. You know, it’s so easy to shit on people’s heads while sitting in front of the monitor and not being interested in either history or political science, it’s immoral. And ashamed of the author, and some of the comments. This is unworthy of musicians or music lovers and the cancellation culture does not condone such primitive thinking. Appreciate your dignity and the dignity of others

    • Maria says:

      Well said. At the height of the Irish troubles, we as a family in London perpetually were told to go back to where we came from – ie Ireland, as we represented the IRA. I was actually born on London with an English not Irish accent. We got sick of it.

  • J says:

    Remember Furtwangler? Looks like many Russian musicians will need to go through the rigmarole of de-putinisation…

  • Save the MET says:

    So much easier to just avoid Russian musicians and singers at the moment unless they no longer live in Russia and speak out against Putin and his war. No arts executive is forced to resign for making a bad decision and life moves on.

  • Alex says:

    Cancelling the great maestro Matsuev says nothing about Matsuev, but it says a lot about those who cancel him!