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Toronto Orchestra Bans Ukrainian-Born Soloist From Performing

04:06 07.04.2015(updated 05:46 07.04.2015)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra cancelled two performances by Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, citing concerns over her "deeply offensive" and "provocative" online remarks about the conflict in Ukraine.
Lisitsa, a Ukrainian-American who was scheduled to perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the TSO on Wednesday and Thursday, took to Facebook on Monday to accuse the Toronto Symphony (TSO) of censorship.

“Someone in the orchestra’s top management,” she wrote in a 1,000-word post, “likely after the pressure from a small but aggressive lobby claiming to represent the Ukrainian community, has made a decision that I should not be allowed to play.”

She also said she was accused of “inciting hatred on Twitter.”

Following the announcement, Twitter quickly responded with a barrage of tweets in her support, many of them with the hashtag #LetValentinaPlay. Bravo Niagara Festival of the Arts, which presented Lisitsa in concert in St. Catharines, Ontario, on Sunday night, tweeted: “In defence of #FreedomofSpeech #LetValentinaPlay … Music can’t be silenced!"

Lisitsa said the TSO will still pay her for the cancelled performances.

The TSO issued a statement Monday defending its decision to pull her from the lineup.

"Due to ongoing accusations of deeply offensive language by Ukrainian media outlets, we have decided to replace Valentina Lisitsa," said the orchestra's president and CEO Jeff Melanson.

"Valentina Lisitsa’s provocative comments have overshadowed past performances. As one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world’s great works of music, and not for opinions that some believe to be deeply offensive."

The orchestra announced Monday that it had replaced Lisitsa with another pianist.

Lisitsa uses her Twitter account to frequently express her strong support of those fighting against Kiev forces in Ukraine. In more than 13,000 tweets aimed at more than 9,000 followers, she has posted sharp denunciations of the Western media and Ukrainian "neo-Nazis" mixed with graphic battlefront videos and images.

Until now, her political commentary has prompted little response by North American concert presenters or audiences. In October, a small group of protesters picketed in front of her recital at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh.

Lisitsa, 41, was born in Kiev but moved to the United States after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Often called “the web’s favorite pianist,” she launched her career through a YouTube channel, which now has received some 43 million visitors.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/news/20150407/102...z3WanrTN00
thanks to rezin for the find.

she's an amazing pianist.

[Image: 1000-valentina-lisitsa3.jpg]

i don't want to hear about freedom of speech anymore from westerners.
Quote:Since 2010, Lisitsa has maintained a Twitter feed – now under the alias NedoUkrainka – through which she frequently expresses her strong support of Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. In over 13,000 tweets aimed at more than 9,000 followers, she has posted sharp denunciations of Western media and Ukrainian "neo-Nazis" mixed with graphic battlefront videos and images.

denouncing western media is now hate speech?

Quote:NedoUkraïnka @ValLisitsa · 6h 6 hours ago
My haters search hard to find any "pro-Putin" tweets of mine?
I am going to make their job easier
Poutine fries rock!

she likes POUTINE haha
lmfao. She played the piano solo works of one of my fav composers M. Nyman

[Image: 71XIa%2BaI3XL._SX425_.jpg]
I wood be her penist
Can't be having anyone think there is anyone out there who actually supports Russia in this thing doo you?

This country is such a pile of political fascist dogshit.
TSO supports hatred by playing anti-Semitic music.
yeah they play wagner yet won't let this amazing pianist play because of some pro putin tweets rich.
someone on twitter unfollowed me after I kept retweeting her stuff lol
Many Left Liberals think that if things in America become too much to stomach (like another Bush Presidency) they'd move to Canada.

Canada is not what Americans think it is.
Sure it's censorship, but it's a nice kind of a censorship. The link has a short audio interview that I don't know how to embed.

Quote:Censored Toronto Pianist Lisitsa: 'They Offered Me Money to be Quiet'

22:58 08.04.2015(updated 00:39 09.04.2015)

Ukrainian-born Valentina Lisitsa was primed to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week. But on Monday, she received the news that her performances had been cancelled, a sudden decision which Lisitsa told Sputnik amounts to political censorship.
"Due to ongoing accusations of deeply offensive language by Ukrainian media outlets, we have decided to replace Valentina Lisitsa," the orchestra’s president Jeff Melanson explained in a statement. He went on to call the pianist’s Twitter account "provocative" and "deeply offensive."

But Lisitsa has a different explanation.

"You know, I strongly believe that it was not because of Tweets, but because of my general position – anti-war, anti-national position – and myself being ethnic Ukrainian," Lisitsa told Sputnik. "I was getting in the way of certain peoples’ interest – political interests."

She says that the orchestra was pressured by Ukrainian representatives.

"I didn’t come here to preach or to say this is political," she said. "I just came to play Rachmaninoff’s Concerto."

Instead of quietly accepting the orchestra’s decision, Lisitsa is taking a stand.

"They offered me money to be quiet about it…They told me 'You go away quietly and we keep silence'," she said. "And I decided, you know, if I do it, if I exchange my freedom for money, what [about] musicians who don’t have a big social presence? And I decided to go public for that reason, just to make a stand."

While her performances have been cancelled, the orchestra is still paying her fee, and Lisitsa has decided to donate much of that money to those who are starving in the midst of Ukraine’s civil war.

"Music…is one art which is never violent," Lisitsa said, stressing her love for the piano.

She also made note of Western hypocrisies.

"If I were to say something about President Putin, I’d probably be applauded, right?"

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/world/20150408/10...z3Wm7fm6pT
I still think Canada is prob better than the US in terms of respecting human dignity, but it's gotten a lot worse recently
this is also why censorship doesn't really work.

she is now 10x more popular now due to the censorship
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