Toronto Symphony cancels pianist for tweeting her views about Ukraine

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voice of the damned

QUOTE: "in the case of a heavily state subsidized insitution."

voice of the damned

^ You mean like the CBC?

Paladin1

People who bought tickets should surely be refunded .

Slumberjack

Harper's Canada.

Unionist

VOTD - you're comparing Lisitsa's case with that of a defender of pedophiles and a homophobe? Had Flanagan been a pianist, or a janitor, I would have opposed the treatment of him. And remind me when Orson Card was fired for his views.

If someone says, "I'm not reading Orson Card any more", or "I won't listen to Lisitsa or buy her works and I'll tell everyone why" - no problem, fill your boots. And you can't distinguish that from the TSO cancelling her performance, after getting complaints from "Ukrainian media outlets" (Jeff Melanson's own words)??

You're usually better than this at distinguishing right from wrong.

 

bekayne

Which remark about gas chambers are we talking about, because she made more than one.

voice of the damned

Unionist wrote:

VOTD - you're comparing Lisitsa's case with that of a defender of pedophiles and a homophobe? Had Flanagan been a pianist, or a janitor, I would have opposed the treatment of him. And remind me when Orson Card was fired for his views.

Well, according to the OP, she is still being paid by the TSO, so she is actually suffering considerably less than the average person who gets fired(who probably based their future budget on the assumption of ongoing income).

voice of the damned

If someone says, "I'm not reading Orson Card any more", or "I won't listen to Lisitsa or buy her works and I'll tell everyone why" - no problem, fill your boots. And you can't distinguish that from the TSO cancelling her performance, after getting complaints from "Ukrainian media outlets"
Well, what if a bookstore said to Card "We're getting a lot of complaints about your anti-gay views, so we're going to cancel your scheduled reading. We'll still pay you in fill, though". Would you have a problem with that?

Unionist

voice of the damned wrote:
If someone says, "I'm not reading Orson Card any more", or "I won't listen to Lisitsa or buy her works and I'll tell everyone why" - no problem, fill your boots. And you can't distinguish that from the TSO cancelling her performance, after getting complaints from "Ukrainian media outlets" Well, what if a bookstore said to Card "We're getting a lot of complaints about your anti-gay views, so we're going to cancel your scheduled reading. We'll still pay you in fill, though". Would you have a problem with that?

No I wouldn't - if the bookstore said, "we find your public views offensive, so we're not giving you any platform". Same if he was racist or Islamophobe or sexist or pro-Stephen Harper or pro-Putin.

But not because some anonymous "Ukrainian media outlets found your views deeply offensive". Fuck that. I look forward to the TSO having its tax status reviewed. After the next election.

Did you grasp the distinction I made?

 

voice of the damned

Unionist wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:
If someone says, "I'm not reading Orson Card any more", or "I won't listen to Lisitsa or buy her works and I'll tell everyone why" - no problem, fill your boots. And you can't distinguish that from the TSO cancelling her performance, after getting complaints from "Ukrainian media outlets" Well, what if a bookstore said to Card "We're getting a lot of complaints about your anti-gay views, so we're going to cancel your scheduled reading. We'll still pay you in fill, though". Would you have a problem with that?

No I wouldn't - if the bookstore said, "we find your public views offensive, so we're not giving you any platform". Same if he was racist or Islamophobe or sexist or pro-Stephen Harper or pro-Putin.

But not because some anonymous "Ukrainian media outlets found your views deeply offensive". Fuck that. I look forward to the TSO having its tax status reviewed. After the next election.

Did you grasp the distinction I made?

 

Yeah, I understand the distinction, but I don't really think it makes a difference. I can think of lots of cases where some organization changes a policy or reverses a decision, not because anyone in the leadership really wanted the change, but just because there was public pressure. That's one of the reasons the left advocates boycotts, because we know that companies, venues etc often won't make a change unlesss they think they'll suffer financial losses. NEXT PAGE...

voice of the damned

CONTINUED...Now, if someone wants to argue that these Ukrainian media outlets were saying something to the TSO like "Look, we've got friends in government, and if you don't cancel that performance, you can look forward to a tax audit or maybe even a knock on your door one night", then that would qualify as a threat of government interference, or state suppression in the latter instance. And I agree, that would certainly be bad. But if it was just something like "We know lots of Ukrainians who won't be buying tickets to your concerts if you let that woman play", well, that's nothing more sinister than a consumer boycott. The left does that all the time.

josh

Rokossovsky wrote:

It's an obvious off-colour joke, not a crime.

It is not incite to anything, which is the important thing. The real issue is the McCarthyite blacklisting of performers, not a sense of humour that some may find offensive.

 

Agree.

Rokossovsky

bekayne wrote:

Which remark about gas chambers are we talking about, because she made more than one.

The one referring to the comments made by the Urkainian Prime Minister about "cleansing our land from evil" "inhumans"

josh

voice of the damned wrote:
And is there evidence of government interference in this case?

 

The Harperites have been narrowcasting to various ethnic groups as part of their political strategy.  Those of Ukranian heritage have been one of their prime targets.  And are in the "good column," along with Jews.  Arabs and, of course, all Muslims are in the "bad column."  And therefore are to be demonized.  Perhaps those of Russian heritage are now in that column as well.

 

So it would be surprising if there was no govermental interference in this case.

Rokossovsky

voice of the damned wrote:
CONTINUED...Now, if someone wants to argue that these Ukrainian media outlets were saying something to the TSO like "Look, we've got friends in government, and if you don't cancel that performance, you can look forward to a tax audit or maybe even a knock on your door one night", then that would qualify as a threat of government interference, or state suppression in the latter instance. And I agree, that would certainly be bad. But if it was just something like "We know lots of Ukrainians who won't be buying tickets to your concerts if you let that woman play", well, that's nothing more sinister than a consumer boycott. The left does that all the time.

All of that is absolutely and prefectly plausible and hardly needs to be enouciated in anything more that subtle mafia talk, which is precisely why institutions such as the TSO need to act as if they are beyond pressure tactics, except in cases of obviously objectionable statements, as opposed to rye commentary that "some" may find offensive.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

VOTD - you're comparing Lisitsa's case with that of a defender of pedophiles and a homophobe?

I'll make that comparison. As insensitive as his words were, and as mistaken as he was, Flanagan wasn't strictly speaking, a defender of pedophiles; he was talking about penalties.

And if anything his case demonstrates that there aren't hard and fast rules, but that it also comes down to public perception.

And the tweet I posted upthread with the teachers in traditional Ukrainian garb next to traditional african garb (presumably as a negative example) is pretty openly racist. Not the only thing on her twitter feed that goes a bit beyond bad taste into that territory, but it is a pretty clear example.

She's quite free to post it. People are free to hire her, and I think the TSO made a mistake by letting her go - mostly because they are hurting themselves. But I am not going to conflate it with more serious attacks on free speech just as I am not going to conflate shock and offense with political opinion.

 

NDPP

josh wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:
And is there evidence of government interference in this case?

 

The Harperites have been narrowcasting to various ethnic groups as part of their political strategy.  Those of Ukranian heritage have been one of their prime targets.  And are in the "good column," along with Jews.  Arabs and, of course, all Muslims are in the "bad column."  And therefore are to be demonized.  Perhaps those of Russian heritage are now in that column as well.

 

So it would be surprising if there was no govermental interference in this case.

Minister Chris Alexander's speech at a UCC benefit honouring Nazi Andriy Parubiy, founder of the Social National Party, Commander of the Maidan, etc who recently visited Canada seeking more support, guns and money from Ottawa and Washington. It is relevant to the discussion of governmental intereference. All parties  are strong supporters of Canada's Ukraine project and its integration into the larger NATO encirclement and militarization of frontline states in furtherance of the destruction of the Russian federation.

The interference arises quite naturally out of the overall project which is a massive and total commitment to support a Ukraine regime change, militarization and further the encirclement/provocations of Russia. The Ukrainian ultranationalists and their powerful lobby have been instrumental in this, as is well documented in the Ukraine threads. The results on the ground, both for ordinary Ukrainians and the ethnic Russians have been catastrophic and the country is in a state of total collapse. As always happens when USA moves in and takes over.

If you haven't already, listen to Chris Alexander to get a sense of how serious Canada is about this Ukraine project. As with Libya and Syria many seem to have simply swallowed hook line and sinker the nonsense in their news. I document these things exhaustively because they are critical, not because I have any particular affinity one way or the other. It's getting tedious seeing people following blindly along with criminal agendas because they don't bother to investigate the other side of a story. We're facing the strong possibility of nuclear war over this insane anti-Russia agenda of NATO and its almost total support by a propagandized citizenry.

the link to Alexander's talk is here

http://newcoldwar.org/canadas-immigration-minister-delivers-pro-war-spee...

6079_Smith_W

She will be interviewed on As it Happens tonight.

Rokossovsky
Rokossovsky

Seems like some are targetting more ethnic Russian performers:

Quote:
"Will the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall now follow the Toronto Symphony’s example and demand some transparency and honesty from its own “controversial” artists: conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko?"

Valentina Lisitsa concerts cancelled for racism and hate-speech

Unionist

Good for her! Hope the TSO pays dearly for this.

6079_Smith_W

Rokossovsky wrote:

Seems like some are targetting more ethnic Russian performers.

They aren't being targetted for their ethnicity, but rather their politics, not that that is a good thing.

Lisitsa's comment to Gary Kasparov in that article? That is targetting someone based on ethnicity.

 

Unionist

BREAKING NEWS - the TSO has cancelled the Rachmaninov concert. Obviously Mr. Goodyear, who was to replace Lisitsa, told them to pound sand, after hearing a torrent of denunciation for his planned betrayal of another pianist.

Fuck you, Jeff Melanson of the TSO - you have heard the voice and the power of the people - we will prevail over your wealthy pro-Harper donors any day of the week!

Rokossovsky

Seems they will be doing Gustav Mahler instead.

Unionist

Actually, Goodyear took a pretty shitty position - seems he is very pissed off at missing the opportunity to take advantage of Ms. Lisitsa's banning:

Stewart Goodyear wrote:
Last Thursday, I was asked to replace a soloist playing Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto. I was excited because I just recorded this work, along with the 3rd piano concerto. I was excited to perform it because the orchestra was one who I had a very close relationship with since I was 12 years old. Rachmaninov's 2nd concerto is a work that is very personal to me. Most recently, I met my girlfriend and love of my life when I last performed it in Prague. This work, to me, was the ultimate expression of love, and it was a dream of mine to perform it in Toronto with the orchestra that I thought I had a close relationship with.

Yesterday, my dream was shattered. I was told that morning that there was more to my substitution. The full story was not explained to me until then, and before i could blink, I found myself in the middle of a social media frenzy. Words of bile and hatred were hurled in my direction from all sides. Suddenly I was accused of supporting censorship, and bullied into declining this engagement. What started out as one of the happiest moments of my life turned into a shattering display of mob hysteria.

Today, I had the most emotional musical experience of my life. The conductor, the orchestra and I shared a special, beautiful moment of music making. I knew that this would be the last opportunity to play Rachmaninov's concerto in the near future with that orchestra. I made that afternoon rehearsal a performance of a lifetime.

With all due respect to the pianist who I was going to replace, one must own one's opinions and words, and have the courage to defend her position without hiding behind the pseudonym, "NedoUkarinka". Her words offended many people who perceived her as pro-violence and anti-love. Her most recent "plea" to her fans and followers to attack the orchestra that released her of her performance schedule was unfortunate. Free speech has consequences, and one most own one's position. Dragging other people who have nothing to do with her position does nothing constructive.

Her attitude, and the mob-like behavior of her devotees, censored Rachmaninoff's second concerto. It is no longer on this week's program.
Many people demanded that I respond to their Twitter tirades. Here is my response: I am an artist, not a politician; a lover of all people, not an ambassador for hatred; a human being with a name, not a pseudonym.

What a fuckwad - accusing Lisitsa of hiding behind a "pseudonym". She was as public as public could be. I hope his career ends today.

Rokossovsky

Have to say that posting that pic about Ukrainian "tribal costume" next to African dancers dressed in traditional attire didn't win her any points with me. The gas chamber thing aside.

Unionist

So she's immature and insensitive. What else is new? Doesn't justify censorship. I dearly wish the TSO loses donations over this. Money talks.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

unionist wrote:
As per her contract, and despite not performing, she will be payed in full.

This only happened after her legal team took action against the TSO. The initial plan by the TSO was to simply renege on the contract, pay her nothing, and throw her to the curb.

"It was only after the legal opinion supplied by Valentina underscored that the TSO could not unilaterally dissolve the contract that the TSO’s counsel clarified that all her fees would be paid."

It seems the TSO also THREATENED HER "against saying anything about the cause of the cancellation".

Some links include

Je Suis Val

Novorossiyan media: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Silences Valentina Lisitsa’s Music

 

I couldn't be bothered to listen to the whole 14 minutes of the CBC "interview" on AIH. Can someone enlighten me as to whether the CBC reporter ever got "around to" discussing the small matter of free speech or did she just try to dwell on the "offensive" tweets to the exclusion of everything else?

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

TSO Facebook Page wrote:
In light of this week's events, the TSO has taken a decision to remove Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 from this week’s programme. The concert for Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 will focus entirely on Mahler’s monumental Fifth Symphony. The concert begins at 8pm and will have no intermission.

The TSO will provide all April 8 and April 9 ticket holders with a complimentary ticket to an upcoming performance.*

For ticket holders who choose not to attend the April 8 or April 9 concerts, a refund is also available upon request.

... Exceptions Apply. 

 

Yeah. Like Valentina Lisitsa.

There is no truth to the rumour that the TSO will, henceforth, be only playing works by Richard Wagner.

 

All Wagner. All the time. Because the Führer says so.

Rev Pesky

RT interview with Lisitsa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6ZiFErxRMg

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

ikosmos wrote:

This only happened after her legal team took action against the TSO. The initial plan by the TSO was to simply renege on the contract, pay her nothing, and throw her to the curb.

Funny, because she didn't say that in the CBC interview, and her tone was such that I expect she would have been pretty loud about it if that had been the case. She certainly interpreted as a threat something which the TSO rep said was to offer her a way to save face.

And never mind that there's no evidence to that effect, there's not even a direct accusation in that Slavyangrad editorial that the TSO attempted to renege, which could be considered libel. Just a smear.

Further, considering how many artists they work with, and how insular that community is, I'd be surprised if an organization like the TSO would even dare to try something like that.

And just immature, eh Unionist?  She's a 40-year-old woman. At least I give her the credit of responsibility for her own words.

 

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Quote:
Despite being provided with a substantive legal response on the merits of these allegations, the TSO has since mustered neither a single sentence in support of its accusations, nor a single word of apology. It was only after the legal opinion supplied by Valentina underscored that the TSO could not unilaterally dissolve the contract that the TSO’s counsel clarified that all her fees would be paid. To all appearances, the TSO seemed to believe that it could not only silence Valentina’s music, but also renege on its contractual obligations and thus walk away from their commitments.

Keep trying. It's kinds fun blowing your arguments out of the water, Smith.

6079_Smith_W

Yeah, I read that.

Never mind that there is no source, where in that paragraph does it say that the TSO tried to renege on its contract?

All it says is that she got an opinion from her lawyer saying that they couldn't.

That is something completely different from what you are claiming.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Smith, repeating falsehoods just makes you look foolish.

I am glad, however, that you haven't (yet) called for Valentina to be permanently banned from Canada.

6079_Smith_W

So you can't find anything in that paragraph to back up your false claim, then.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Quit wasting my time braying the same falsehood over and over again.

Rokossovsky

What an ugly mess.

NDPP

 

The UCC's crude Right Sector tactics at the TSO, like the JDL's thuggery getting Ottawa to ban George Galloway from Canada, should be huge danger flags to what is happening to our politics. On foreign policy, Canadian progressives increasingly seem far closer to neocon than most definitions of social democrat.

The matter of Ukraine must be looked into by progressives and thoroughly so that they may come to the proper awareness of what is actually going on- so that they don't permit it to continue, let alone support it or cheer it on. Why is Canada giving $600+ Million to fascists and oligarchs whose thievery and corruption is legendary.?

The status quo for a Canadian voter is at best criminal negligence as you are supporting a pro-war, pro-Nazi, pro-Oligarch regime. At worst it is complicity.

We are becoming more and more like Israelis who cheer on the latest Gaza 'lawn mowing' in majority numbers instead of moving to shut it down.

To see the magnificant Rach 2 with an interpretive artist, dealt with in such a odious manner is only another indication that some rather unpleasant chickens are coming home to roost.

If you have't yet - Watch Chris Alexander and know that the NDP intends to follow people just like Parubiy down the same primrose path to hell. And refuse.

Unionist

Very happy that so many people fought back - successfully - against both the TSO's draconian behaviour and (much less importantly) Mr. Goodyear's opportunistic "happiest moment of my life" when he received, momentarily, the green light to fill in for the banished heretic:

[url=http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2015/04/08/tsos-ukraine-flap-...’s Ukraine flap worsens as pianist filling in for Valentina Lisitsa quits - After outspoken musician is yanked from concert, replacement says he was bullied into declining.[/url]

"Bullied into declining". Awwwwwwww.

Caissa

The TSO Board handled this problem like a bunch of putzes.

6079_Smith_W

You can come to Calgary and hear her play in June. That gig, in right-wing Harper party central,  is still on, and the Calgary philharmonic has pledged that it will go on.

Maybe they didn't get the memo from the puppet masters about the blacklist,  or things aren't quite so orchestrated as some conspiracists like to think.

 

 

Unionist

Quote:
Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, whose appearance with the TSO was cancelled, had planned to play a free concert Wednesday at the Church of the Holy Trinity. But the church called it off, fearing violence.

I don't know whether that's pathetic, or infuriating, or hilarious.

Would have been nice if the Church had called off the Crusades, "fearing violence".

Feeling sad for Torontonians today. They deserve better.

 

josh

Unionist wrote:

Quote:
Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, whose appearance with the TSO was cancelled, had planned to play a free concert Wednesday at the Church of the Holy Trinity. But the church called it off, fearing violence.

I don't know whether that's pathetic, or infuriating, or hilarious.

Would have been nice if the Church had called off the Crusades, "fearing violence".

Feeling sad for Torontonians today. They deserve better.

 

So much for, Be Not Afraid.

Slumberjack

So the message I'm getting out of all of this is that whatever foreign policy agenda the Harper stoogecracy adopts better not be publically challenged, not if you want to work in this country that is, because there are any number of organizations and individuals who will punish you.  In contrast, if we're following certain peripheral arguments to their conclusion, being denied work for holding unpopular views is a much better fate than being assassinated by radiation poisoning.  A difficult point to argue against to be sure.

6079_Smith_W

Or maybe just that some people make dumb decisions. And other people make dumb assumptions about it. And some other people get some mileage out of it.

The only winners I see here are the hate and disinformation campaigns on BOTH sides, and that includes Ms. Lisitsa when she is wearing her troll hat. It is her work as an artist, and those who appreciate her music who lose.

Based on your hypothesis the vanguard of the resistance against Stephen Harper is in his ideological heartland - Calgary. Somehow I don't think that is any more accurate than any of the bogeyman stories being floated here.

voice of the damned

In contrast, if we're following certain peripheral arguments to their conclusion, being denied work for holding unpopular views is a much better fate than being assassinated by radiation poisoning. NEXT...

voice of the damned

As for the "Harper stoogeocracy", well, as Smith pointed out, they can't even get Ms. Lisitsa banned from Harper's own right-wing backyard. Which should have been a piece of cake, if Harper was calling the shots everywhere.

voice of the damned

I think that's a straw man. I'm not saying losing the gig is better or worse than anything else. I'm just saying that, in and of itself, it qualifies neither as censorship nor as a violaton of anyone's rights. As I have illustrated elsewhere on this thread(eg. the case of Flanagan), it is hardly unheard of for public figures to lose jobs because they express controversial views. NEXT...

Slumberjack

Well, I'm thinking, as do many others around here, that we certainly should be holding national leaders accountable for incidents of suppression and punishment of unpopular views that transpire within their national boundaries.  Even if they're not personally giving the marching orders, then it's the general atmosphere they create and preside over isn't it?  Because if we're following well established precedence, the decision of the TSO in this instance should rightfully be laid at the jackbooted feet of the Harper regime.  In a sense these are not 'dumb' decisions, but calculated steering intended to drift along with the prevailing current.  If she had to have been a Ukrainian nationalist who launched into an anti-Putin tirade, we might expect to see Harper and Company showing their appreciation and support from the front rows of the performance.  At least she'd have your support.

Slumberjack

voice of the damned wrote:
I think that's a straw man. I'm not saying losing the gig is better or worse than anything else. I'm just saying that, in and of itself, it qualifies neither as censorship nor as a violaton of anyone's rights. As I have illustrated elsewhere on this thread(eg. the case of Flanagan), it is hardly unheard of for public figures to lose jobs because they express controversial views. NEXT...

Yeah that's sort of the Kremlin's line when unpopular figures start glowing in the dark.  It doesn't mean it's officially happening or that it's anyone's fault in the government.

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