We have received the following communication from Dr Ilgiz Yanbukhtin, International Director of the Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic (eng.orchestra.ru). We present it unvarnished. Apparently, it’s 12 days before Christmas goodwill reaches in Russia.
My name is Dr. Ilgiz Yanbukhtin, I am the International Director of the Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic (eng.orchestra.ru).Having made a necessary pause I‘mwriting to you on behalf of the orchestra in order to clarify in detail the incident which happened during the opening concert of the II Moscow Christmas Classical Music Festival on the 19th of December. Thank you for your interest to this unbelievable and crazy story we were all involved.
Let me tell you a few words about the orchestra. Exact full brand name is MOSCOW CITY SYMPHONY – RUSSIAN PHILHARMONIC. It was founded in 2000 by the Moscow City Government, and is the only Capital City of Moscow full symphony orchestra. Russian Philharmonic is the resident orchestra (together with two orchestras of Vladimir Spivakov) of the Moscow International House of Music (www.mmdm.ru). In 2011 Dmitri Jurowski, member of the prominent musical dynasty, music director of Royal Flemish Opera, was appointed its chief conductor.
This orchestra is continuously expanding its activities both within the Russian Federation and internationally, starting its touring performances in USA, France, Germany, Bruckner Festival in Linz, Besancon Festival in 2013-2015. Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic is the only Russian full symphony orchestra to be member of International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA), Alliance of Asia Pacific Region Orchestras (AAPRO), League of American Orchestras (LAO).
Inquiries about Russian Philharmonic can be made at Productions Internationales Albert Sarfati, Atholl Swainston-Harrison, IAMA executive director, Madame Guo Shan, AAPRO Chairman & China Symphony Development Foundation or such classical music industry legends as Till Janczukowicz and Rosi Pritz or such world renowned musicians as Maxim Vengerov, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Jose Carreras, Jose Cura, etc. You are most welcome to listen to the orchestra through its official YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/RussianPhilharmonic).
Mr. Gavrilov was invited to participate in the opening concert of the above-mentioned Festival to be held at the Moscow International House of Music on December 19. Our orchestra first contacted Mr. Gavrilov in late May 2012. He sounded very enthusiastic about cooperation with the orchestra and him performing in Moscow and he himself proposed to perform Rachmaninoff’s 3rd concerto. THE CONTRACT WASSIGNED ON JULY 7, 2012 and HE WAS PAID IN ADVANCE ON JULY 9, 100% ADVANCE PAYMENT BY BANK TRANSFERRAL. THAT WAS HIS BASIC CONDITION.
FACTS & CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
Mr. Gavrilov arrived in Moscow one week before the date of the concert after having performed in Asia. Federal TV channel “Culture” wanted to make a live concert recording for subsequent broadcasting. MR. GAVRILOV REJECTED TOTALLY ANY POSSIBLE RECORDING DURING THE REHEARSALS AND THE CONCERT AS WELL AS ANY INTERVIEWS.
DEC.18 – first rehearsal was scheduled from 4:30 PM till 7 PM including 15 minutes break. It became immediately clear that Mr. Gavrilov was not in a good pianistic shape. Both members of the orchestra and Mr. Jurowski were very surprised to see that the soloist was not able to play the right notes and chords, was constantly stopping, and instead of concentrating on his own performance, giving instructions to the orchestra and teaching. He seemed very distracted, couldn’t remember the text and clearly was not in control of his fingers. IT’S FUNNY THAT MR. GAVRILOV STATES THAT HE DOES NOT NEED A CONDUCTOR TO PERFORM WITH THE ORCHESTRAS. He repeated this idea several times to Gayane Shiladzhyan, orchestra CEO, at her office and in their correspondence. DESPITE HIS ODD BEHAVIOR DMITRI JUROWSKI, GAYANE SHILADZHYAN AND THE MEMBERS OF THE ORCHESTRA WERE VERY TACTFUL, TOLERANT AND PATIENT WITH MR. GAVRILOV. Additionally, the woman who accompanied the soloist informed Gayane that a tragic event happened to Mr. Gavrilov’s dearest person the other day. One can imagine that after such a rehearsal we were all very concerned about the level of Mr. Gavrilov’s preparation and the success of the concert.
DEC.19 – dress rehearsal was scheduled from 4:15 PM till 6 PM on stage of the Svetlanov Hall. Mr. Gavrilov arrived almost an hour late. During the dress rehearsal Mr. Gavrilov again demonstrated total incapacity to play the right musical text and total absence of concentrationin full view of numerous listeners at Svetlanov Hall. Mr. Gavrilov was politely asked about whether he would be able to play tonight considering his personal tragic circumstances and emotional state. His reply was that he’s in good spirits and ready to perform.
The dress rehearsal finished at 6:40 PM. Orchestra was on stage by 7:15 PM. Assistants went to Gavrilov’s dressing room on the 8th floor to invite him to go on stage but found no one – neither Gavrilov himself, nor his stuff. Nobody could find him at the backstage either. Eyewitnesses (House of Music security and barmen) saw how he ran away right after the rehearsal through emergency exit on the 4th floor.
We knew that the distinguished Russian pianist Alexander Ghindin was at Svetlanov Hall with his wife and son as a guest (please listen to Ghindin playing Part 1 of Rachmaninoff’s 4th concerto, original version, with Vladimir Ashkenazy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l67IDCckP7I ). He also attended the dress rehearsal. We had no choice but to ask him to save the concert and to play Rachmaninoff’s 3rd concerto, one of the most demanding pieces in the piano repertoire, without rehearsing or even warming up his hands. Dmitri Jurowski made an announcement, saying that because Mr. Gavrilov suddenly felt unwell he would be replaced by Alexander Ghindin. SUCH AN ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE IN ORDER TO PROTECT MR. GAVRILOV’S REPUTATION AND NOT TO DISCLOSE TO THE PUBLIC THAT THE PIANIST WAS SIMPLY NOT CAPABLE OF PLAYING THE CONCERT AND WAS COWARDLY ESCAPING THROUGH THE FIRE EXIT.
Rachmaninoff began to sound at 7:30 PM. The concert ended with the standing ovation.
Those are the naked facts. I would like to emphasize some important points.
1) Mr. Gavrilov was TECHNICALLY NOT READY TO PLAY RACHMANINOFF. There is audio recording from the dress rehearsal on Dec.19 one could post in Facebook but we’ll never do it as we do observe the proprieties. One can also watch a pretty fresh videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhNxPIxGcQw from Mr. Gavrilov’s dress rehearsal in Seoul (four weeks ago in late November). That gives an idea of his professional level right now. HE USES INTERPRETATION MATTERS (“MY CONGENIAL RACHMANINOFF”, “MY CONGENIAL TCHAIKOVSKY”, “MY CONGENIAL CHOPIN”, etc.) AS A COVER FOR HIS OWN PERFORMING PROBLEMS.
2) Mr. Gavrilov DIDN’T REFUSE TO PLAY THE CONCERT – HE JUST VANISHED WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION through the emergency exit. He even admitted that on his Facebook account. We believe that it is a disgrace to behave like that towards the audience, orchestra and Dmitri Jurowski, his colleague and partner on the stage. He could honestly say to the audience and to the orchestra, “I refuse to play”.IT COULD BE A NORMAL AND CIVILIZED GESTURE OF RESPECT BUT HE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH COURAGE TO DO THAT.
3) Mr. Gavrilov tried TO FRUSTRATE AND SABOTAGE THE CONCERT DELIBERATELY TO COVER UP HIS PROFESSIONAL IMPOTENCE.Luckily Gayane Shiladzhyan and Dmitri Jurowski handled this situation with courage and dignity. To be honest we’ve never faced with such a wild and uncivilized challenge before. The concert was a huge success. Only 15 tickets were returned and, of course, reimbursed. Out of almost 1800 sold out.
4) Mr. Gavrilov UNLEASHED A STORM OF MISINFORMATION THROUGHT FACEBOOK TO JUSTIFY HIMSELF.He still cannot stop blaming everyone and everything for his own problems and inadequacy. HIS TACTICS CAN BE IDENTIFIED AS “ ATTACK IS THE BEST FORM OF DEFENCE”. Mr. Gavrilov is being rude, insulting and personal towards Dmitri Jurowski publicly calling him “mega untalented”, “impudent”, “young, spoiled and feeble”, “water nymph with a stick”, etc. We are appalled by his behavior. Once a distinguished musician has reduced himself to becoming an incompetent hooligan.
No wonder Mr. Gavrilov has nothing to reply to Alexander Ghindin’s noble and honest open letter published on Friday. HE AIMS TO MISINFORM WESTERN AUDIENCE FIRST OF ALL. HE AIMS AT CONSEALING THE TRUTH THAT HE WAS NOT READY TO PLAY PROPERLY. THAT’S WHY HE’S TRYING TO LAY THE BLAME ON SOMEBODY ELSE SHIFTING EMPHASIS.
5) THE VERY STYLE OF MR. GAVRILOV’S POSTS BOTH IN ENGLISH AND ESPECIALLY IN RUSSIAN IS INADMISSIBLE AND DISGRACEFUL. His language is extremely vulgar abounding with foul expressions. None of his opponents (Ghindin, Jurowski or Shiladzhyan) ever permitted themselves to insult their colleague. Please note that Mr. Gavrilov’s argumentation in Facebook is very intolerant and primitive – everybody who disagrees with him over his actions in Moscow is scornfully and arrogantly called “Sovok”, a remnant of something supposedly Soviet.
6) Mr. Gavrilov DID NOT FULFIL HIS CONTRACT OBLIGATIONSwhich constitutes a breach of contract. IS IT PROFESSIONAL AND NORMAL FOR THE LAW-ABIDING WESTERNER (ESPECIALLY) SUCH A FLAGRANT VIOLATION OF CONTRACT OBLIGATIONS?!?!Keeping in mind that Mr. Gavrilov used to proudly position himself as a “citizen of the world”. I DOUBT THAT HE WOULD EVER DARE TO BEHAVE LIKE THAT SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE RUSSIA – IN EUROPE, AMERICA OR ASIA. The orchestra has already claimed the damages strictly according to the contract through his accountant in Moscow. No answer yet. Unless the parties settle this issue within a month the orchestra will bring an action against Mr. Gavrilov.
By the way, this is NOT THE FIRST TIME MR. GAVRILOV BREACHES HIS CONTRACT IN RUSSIA – he left the city of Vladimir in Russia in March 2007 right before the concert.
We treated Mr. Gavrilov with utmost respect, we treated him as a pianistic legend. We were aware of his unpredictability and extravagance but the reality exceeded our worst expectations. Mr. Gavrilov CANNOT BE CONSIDERED A “HANDSHAKE” GENTLEMAN ANY MORE.Now it is up to you and the Western audience as well as his fans to judge whether he is a decent man or AN ORDINARY CROOK AND LIAR.
Dr. Ilgiz Yanbukhtin
Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic