For a few hours last Sunday I, and I daresay all who sat with me at the Playhouse listening to Haydn, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Schubert’s last great quartet in a searing performance by the Castalian String Quartet, forgot briefly about the atrocities of the war that we are now witnessing.
This Sunday we have another concert: Isata Kanneh-Mason in her solo recital debut in Vancouver. And again, hopefully, we will lose ourselves in the magic and comfort of great music. And in between trying to lose ourselves in music we have to face the realities of life… or, in this case, death and destruction.
Today’s e-newsletter was supposed to excitedly announce and provide details about a couple of upcoming concerts in June featuring the wonderful Golda Schultz and Steven Osborne (both concerts had to be rescheduled because of the pandemic). But, to be honest, I don’t feel upbeat enough to do them justice, so I shall leave it for another week. Not that I think that this will all miraculously disappear, but perhaps I will be better able to deal with my inability to muster my usual excitement.
Yesterday, I did one of the hardest things I have had to do in a very long time, and that was to cancel a new date we had secured in August for the 20-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev. We have now tried three times to get him to Vancouver, but again, it is not to be. We at the VRS cannot in good conscience present a concert by any Russian artist at this moment in time unless they are prepared to speak out publicly against this war. We stand with the remarkable people of Ukraine, who are inspiring us all with their resilience and bravery.
As you can imagine, I feel terrible and conflicted about it. Alexander is an incredibly talented young artist embarking upon what will surely be (in a sane world) a stellar career. He is now being penalized, despite the fact that he has nothing to do with what’s going on. He is in fear of what would happen to his family, with whom he still lives in Moscow, if he speaks out. Alexander Malofeev is just one the many millions of innocent Russians who are being deeply impacted by the actions of their government. It is all so very senseless. And it breaks my heart.
Until next week,
Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., DFA
Founder & Artistic Director
PS I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Evgeny Kissin, the Russian-born pianist who is appearing on our series on April 28, publicly denounced the war in Ukraine. Evgeny, who resides in Prague, left Russia many years ago and has since taken both British and Israeli citizenship.