Pianist Boris Berezovsky Dropped by Management Over Comments on Ukraine

The Russian pianist was met with disbelief from the classical industry after his talk show appearance calling for pressure to be increased on Ukraine

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(Image courtesy: The Moscow Times)

 

Winner of the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Boris Berezovsky, 53, has performed internationally for decades and recorded with labels such as Warner Classics. However, his recent comments on a pro-Kremlin television channel, Channel One Russia, have caused a stir in the classical world. 

During a talk show, which included a military official, he referred to the timeline of military operations, calling for pressure to be increased on Ukraine by cutting power to the capital Kyiv. 

“I have a naive question,” he began. “I don’t know much about war; here is a military man standing next to me, but I am just a musician. I understand that we take pity on [Ukraine], that we are being very delicate, but couldn’t we stop caring about them, besiege them and cut off the electricity?” The military officer responded saying, “We shouldn’t create a humanitarian catastrophe.”

According to The Moscow Times, when asked about the impact of rising energy prices in the West due to the invasion, Berezovsky said: “I don’t care what happens in the West, they will find their solutions... I will definitely not go there for the next three years so... it’s not my problem.”

Lars Vogt, musical director of the Paris Chamber Orchestra, was among those who reacted to Berezovsky’s comments on social media. “I can’t believe these words from my ex-friend Boris B. But I hear them from his own mouth. Our friendship is officially over,” Vogt tweeted. 

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montera too expressed her “huge disappointment” on Twitter, commenting that “musical greatness and empathy don’t always go hand in hand.”

As a result of his comments, Berezovsky was dropped by his French management, Productions Sarfati. “Our company has represented the pianist Boris Berezovsky…for almost 20 years,” the company wrote in a statement. “He recently spoke on a pure propaganda talk show…[where his] comments shocked, upset and stunned all those who know [him]...We strongly condemn the comments he made and we must sadly suspend [his] representation [with our company].”