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Classical 101

Fired Pianist Valentina Lisitsa has Seemingly Become Radioactive

Andrew Garn
Columbia Artists Management
Stewart Goodyear was to have replace Valentina Lisitsa, only to be cancelled himself.

As most have heard, Valentina Lisitsa was "uninvited" from performing Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto with the Toronto Symphony after a number of controversial tweets regarding the situation between Russia and the Ukraine.  

I will not go into detail here, as it has been widely written about and discussed.  My colleague Christopher Purdy has a thorough look at the subject here.

What I will discuss is the continuing fallout which has now splattered other people and organizations.  After the TSO canceled her performance, Lisitsa had scheduled an alternative venue, Church of the Holy Trinity at 10 Trinity Square, where she told the press she would perform the concerto.  It was only moments later that they, too, canceled her performance after reportedly receiving threats.

Meanwhile, Stewart Goodyear, an amazing pianist, had been engaged by the TSO to replace Lisitsa.  However, the situation had become so toxic, that he began receiving hatemail.  The TSO soon decided to remove the work from the program entirely.

I bring this up because Goodyear had already traveled to Toronto and was preparing for his performance.  He had recently recorded the piece and was excited to play it with an orchestra he loved. After the cancelation, Mr. Goodyear expressed his thoughts and disappointment in a written response, printed as part of an article at MusicalToronto.org.

It is worth reading, as he sums up the balancing act that public figures must perform between their public and private lives.  Every one of us has opinions.  

Discretion sometimes dictates that a certain time or place may not be right for the expression of those opinions.  A civilized discourse will usually receive a civilized response.  An in-your-face expression of those same thoughts will often be forcefully rebuked.  

In an age of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., one must carefully choose their words because, as many have discovered, careers and lives can often change in a heartbeat.  For Valentina Lisitsa, only time will tell.

Why Valentina Lisitsa was Fired(UkranianPolicy.com)