an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Cellist in Chinese train incident apologises and is penalised

Oleg Vedernikov, principal cellist of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra who was filmed in an argument with a Chinese woman on a train, has been suspended from his post pending an investigation.

He has issued an apology on video in an attempt to quell the anger aroused by his apparent disrespect for a Chinese passenger. Here is the text of his statement:

My name is Oleg Vedernikov. I’m Russian and now work at the Beijing Symphony Orchestra as its principal cellist.

On May 14, while the orchestra was on vacation, I was on the D8 train travelling from Shenyang to Beijing. I put both my feet up on the chair in front of me where a lady was seated. This impolite action caused the strong disatisfaction of the woman, but instead of apologising to her immediately, I berated her in Mandarin.All the goings-on were recorded by a fellow passenger and published on the internet, creating a furore among the public.

I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for my behaviour — to the woman and to the general public. My personal behaviour has also negatively impacted the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, and for that too, I’d like to apologise.

“我叫奥列格(Oleg Vedernikov ),俄罗斯人,现任北京交响乐团的大提琴首席。


Yiou can watch the video here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Neil van der Linden says:

    True it was rude, but hopefuly there will be also room in China for a public uproar on topics like this..

  2. I am puzzled by the fact that Vedernikov is fluent enough in Mandarin to ‘berate’ the womsn. How many talents does the man have! Or was it just a few swearwords, LOL.

    Also, shooting a video in this way is eerily reminiscent of other kinds of forced on-camera videos. Perhaps they could have done it as an interview instead of this ‘confession’.

  3. Sam Adler says:

    That apology was definitely written by a lawyer or PR person. I don’t sense any remorse.

  4. Yesterday, I sat on the back of a bus with my cello and at least four people (I counted) had their feet on the seats. Now, maybe putting your feet on bus/train seats isn’t great, but it seems like this has been blown massively out of proportion.

    I can see the youtube clips now with the title “man yells at woman over feet on seats incident”. When I looked at the news this morning, I think it’s safe to say there are a lot more pressing issues in the world!

  5. André M. Smith says:

    Mr Vedernikov should have remembered, at all times, that regardless of how many years – a decade! – he has resided and performed in China, he remains a guest in their house and should have continued to comport himself as one. I do not believe his foolish public misbehaviour would have been viewed differently in his native Russia. If the proper offices in Beijing appropriately invoke their authority Mr Vedernikov will have a renewed chance to test the tolerance of his homeland.

    This man is a public blot on the noble art of classical music!


    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    • Wanderer says:

      Mozart would also have put his feet up on the seat.
      Postgraduate studies in Human Idiocy and Vanity (Harvard University)

      • Neil van der Linden says:

        And the Wanderer would….. ;-)
        While his feet might even have bee a bit smelly.. OK, in that case one should kindly ask to remove them.

        Is it seeing the soles of the feet or the soles of feet a taboo in Chinese culture? In Arabic culture it is, that is why when Bush Jr visited iraq and he got a shoe thrown at his head, that could be seen as one of the worst insults one could get.
        The same goes for when an Iraqi-Norwegian family member of a victim threw a shoe at Anders Breivik.

        Of course if somebody already works for ages in China that person should know about such taboes.
        But then again if I were China I would try to reserve my energy in naming and shaming somebody for other cases.

an ArtsJournal blog