A press release from the Rotterdam Phil and the Municipality appears below. We understand that the conductor is giving a press conference in Munich today to clarify his position on anti-gay policies in Russia. We will keep you posted.
Rotterdam, 16 December
Press Statement Gergiev Festival and the Municipality of Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Municipality of Rotterdam see no reason to enter into any form of discussion regarding the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival after alleged comments by Gergiev recently published in both the Dutch and the German press. Based on information they have, the comments by Gergiev in an article in the Volkskrant on 10 September were taken out of context.
In the article, Gergiev was asked for his opinion about the Russian law against ‘homosexual propaganda’ among minors. Gergiev said that the law is often misinterpreted, including in the Netherlands. ‘We do our utmost to protect children against paedophiles in Russia. This law is not about homosexuality, but is against paedophilia.’
Last month, Valery Gergiev already responded to demonstrations in London by issuing a statement on his Facebook page. He said that he does not discriminate against anybody, homosexual or otherwise. He said it was incorrect to imply that he supported an anti-gay law. In his work he takes the stand that all people have equal rights.
‘That has been my own experience also in all the years we have worked together’, said Hans Waege, managing director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gergiev Festival: ‘Our company promotes the fundamental values of the Netherlands and Western European culture. We shall continue to do so in our own way.’
Councillor Antoinette Laan, responsible for the Culture Portfolio, said, ‘The Gergiev Festival is subsidised because of its artistic qualities. Based on information currently available to us we have no reason to either reduce or stop the subsidy.’
6 November: Statement Valery Gergiev
I am aware of the gay rights protest that took place at the Barbican last week prior to my concert with the LSO. I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theatre this is our policy. It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people. I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends. I collaborate with and support all my colleagues in the endeavour for music and art. This is my focus as a conductor, musician, artist and as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.