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Verbier says Gergiev resigns as festival head at its request

February 28, 2022 GMT
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo, Valery Gergiev, looks on after a "pre-premiere" performance, put on for veterans and senior employees of the theatre in the new Mariinsky Theatre on the eve of the it's official opening in St.Petersburg, Russia.  Gergiev, a conductor who is close to Russia President Vladimir Putin, will not lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a five-concert U.S. tour that starts at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. The 68-year-old Russian conductor is music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the White Nights Festival there and is chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He received a Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation prize that Putin revived in 2013. Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will replace Gergiev for the Carnegie concerts. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo, Valery Gergiev, looks on after a "pre-premiere" performance, put on for veterans and senior employees of the theatre in the new Mariinsky Theatre on the eve of the it's official opening in St.Petersburg, Russia.  Gergiev, a conductor who is close to Russia President Vladimir Putin, will not lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a five-concert U.S. tour that starts at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. The 68-year-old Russian conductor is music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the White Nights Festival there and is chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He received a Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation prize that Putin revived in 2013. Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will replace Gergiev for the Carnegie concerts. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo, Valery Gergiev, looks on after a "pre-premiere" performance, put on for veterans and senior employees of the theatre in the new Mariinsky Theatre on the eve of the it's official opening in St.Petersburg, Russia.  Gergiev, a conductor who is close to Russia President Vladimir Putin, will not lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a five-concert U.S. tour that starts at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. The 68-year-old Russian conductor is music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the White Nights Festival there and is chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He received a Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation prize that Putin revived in 2013. Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will replace Gergiev for the Carnegie concerts. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo, Valery Gergiev, looks on after a "pre-premiere" performance, put on for veterans and senior employees of the theatre in the new Mariinsky Theatre on the eve of the it's official opening in St.Petersburg, Russia. Gergiev, a conductor who is close to Russia President Vladimir Putin, will not lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a five-concert U.S. tour that starts at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. The 68-year-old Russian conductor is music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the White Nights Festival there and is chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He received a Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation prize that Putin revived in 2013. Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will replace Gergiev for the Carnegie concerts. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2013 photo, Valery Gergiev, looks on after a "pre-premiere" performance, put on for veterans and senior employees of the theatre in the new Mariinsky Theatre on the eve of the it's official opening in St.Petersburg, Russia. Gergiev, a conductor who is close to Russia President Vladimir Putin, will not lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a five-concert U.S. tour that starts at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. The 68-year-old Russian conductor is music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the White Nights Festival there and is chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He received a Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation prize that Putin revived in 2013. Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will replace Gergiev for the Carnegie concerts. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

The Verbier Festival says conductor Valery Gergiev resigned as music director at its request.

The Swiss classic music festival said it made the change as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Gergiev, 68, is a friend and supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gergiev succeeded Charles Dutoit as festival director in 2018. This year’s festival is scheduled from July 15-31.

Verbier said Monday it will return “donations from any individual sanctioned by a western government” and will exclude “artists who have publicly aligned themselves with the Russian government’s actions.”

Gergiev is the music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, and its White Nights Festival, as well as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic.

The Edinburgh International Festival said Monday it had “asked for, and accepted the resignation of, Valery Gergiev as Honorary President of the Festival.”

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“Edinburgh is twinned with the city of Kyiv and this action is being taken in sympathy with, and support of, its citizens,” the annual arts festival said in a statement.

Gergiev was dropped last week from the Vienna Philharmonic’s five-concert U.S. tour, and his management company said Sunday it will no longer represent him.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter threatened to remove Gergiev as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic unless Gergiev publicly said by Monday that he does not support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra also said it would drop the 68-year-old Russian’s planned festival there this September if he does not stop supporting Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Milan’s Teatro alla Scala said unless Gergiev makes a clear statement in favor of a peaceful resolution in the Ukraine, Gergiev would not be permitted to return to complete his engagement conducting Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades,” which resumes March 5.