West News Wire: Valery Gergiev, a Russian conductor, was sacked by his management organisation on Sunday due to his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Marcus Felsner of Munich has been representing the 68-year-old Russian since December 2020, when he left Opus3 and launched his own management firm.

“It has become impossible for us, and manifestly unwelcome, to protect the interests of Maestro Gergiev in light of the criminal war undertaken by the Russian dictatorship against the democratic and independent nation of Ukraine, and against the European open society as a whole,” Felsner said in a statement.

Valery Gergiev is the music director of Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre and its White Nights Festival, as well as the Munich Philharmonic’s chief conductor.

The Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation recipient is close to Putin and expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Felsner called Gergiev “the greatest conductor alive and an extraordinary human being with a profound sense of decency” yet criticized Gergiev because he “will not, or cannot, publicly end his long expressed support for a regime that has come to commit such crimes.”

The move by Gergiev’s management comes just ahead of a Monday deadline Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter imposed on Gergiev to publicly denounce the invasion. If Gergiev does not comply, Reiter has said he will remove him as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra which began an annual Gergiev Festival in 1996 also said it would drop the Russian’s planned festival there this September if he does not stop supporting Putin.

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Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin replaced Gergiev for three weekend performances by the Vienna Philharmonic at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Gergiev won’t conduct two performances with that orchestra this week at Hayes Hall in Naples, Florida. And Carnegie on Friday canceled two May performances by the Mariinsky Orchestra that were to be led by Gergiev.

Felsner called the severance of ties “the saddest day of my professional life.”

Gergiev and a U.S. representative, Doug Sheldon of Sheldon Artists, both did not respond to texts seeking comment.

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