Ukraine: Cardiff orchestra pulls Tchaikovsky music over war

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Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra was due to perform a Tchaikovsky night at St David's Hall this month

A Welsh orchestra has dropped music by Russian composer Tchaikovsky from a concert because of the Ukraine war.

Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra said it would be "inappropriate at this time" to perform the composer's music after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The orchestra said a member had family in Ukraine and it was also aware some of Tchaikovsky's work was deemed offensive to Ukrainians.

It had planned a Tchaikovsky concert at St David's Hall in Cardiff on 18 March.

Instead, it will perform works by John Williams, Dvorak and Elgar.

In a statement issued on its Facebook site, the orchestra said the decision was based on "here and now".

It added: "A member of the orchestra has family directly involved in the Ukraine situation and we are trying to respect that situation during the immediate term.

"There were also two military-themed pieces as part of the programme - Marche Slave and 1812 Overture - that we felt were particularly inappropriate at this time.

"We were also made aware at the time that the title Little Russian of Symphony No 2 was deemed offensive to Ukrainians.

"Whilst there are no plans to repeat the Tchaikovsky concert at the moment, we have no plans to change our summer and autumn programmes which contain pieces by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakof. So, in summary, this is a one-off decision made with the best of intentions."

However Welsh Conservative MP Fay Jones said on social media: "Groan. Putin is the enemy here. Not Russia."

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Image caption,
Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is regarded as offensive to Ukrainians

The move is the latest in a series of music resignations, cancellations and withdrawals that have been made since the Russian invasion.

Conductor Valery Gergiev, 68, has been dropped by festivals, concert halls and management due to his links with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He was fired as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic for not rejecting the invasion of Ukraine.

Gergiev's resignation as honorary president of the Edinburgh International Festival was also "asked for and accepted" by the event's board of trustees last month.

Gergiev has also been dropped from the Vienna Philharmonic's five-concert US tour and the Rotterdam Philharmonic in the Netherlands also cut ties, citing an "unbridgeable divide" between the orchestra and conductor.

Soprano Anna Netrebko withdrew from her future engagements at the Metropolitan Opera rather than repudiate her support for President Putin, costing the company one of its top singers and best box-office draws.