When Lisitsa’s concerts were cancelled in Toronto, instead of issuing a public apology and retracting the atrocious material from public domains, Ms. Lisitsa launched a major public relations campaign where she depicts herself as a victim of free speech restriction and encourages her fans to bully the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), who cancelled the concert, and those supporting the TSO’s decision. Those efforts were quite successful, as under tremendous pressure the Lisitsa’s replacement, Canadian world famous pianist and composer, Stewart Goodyear had to drop out from the concert. Obviously shaken by the ordeal he shared on April 7, 2015 on his Facebook:
“Last Thursday, I was asked to replace a soloist playing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. I was excited because I just recorded this work, along with the 3rd piano concerto. I was excited to perform it because the orchestra was one who I had a very close relationship with since I was 12 years old. Rachmaninov’s 2nd concerto is a work that is very personal to me. Most recently, I met my girlfriend and love of my life when I last performed it in Prague. This work, to me, was the ultimate expression of love, and it was a dream of mine to perform it in Toronto with the orchestra that I thought I had a close relationship with.
Yesterday, my dream was shattered. I was told that morning that there was more to my substitution. The full story was not explained to me until then, and before i could blink, I found myself in the middle of a social media frenzy. Words of bile and hatred were hurled in my direction from all sides. Suddenly I was accused of supporting censorship, and bullied into declining this engagement. What started out as one of the happiest moments of my life turned into a shattering display of mob hysteria.
Today, I had the most emotional musical experience of my life. The conductor, the orchestra and I shared a special, beautiful moment of music making. I knew that this would be the last opportunity to play Rachmaninov’s concerto in the near future with that orchestra. I made that afternoon rehearsal a performance of a lifetime.
With all due respect to the pianist who I was going to replace, one must own one’s opinions and words, and have the courage to defend her position without hiding behind the pseudonym, “NedoUkarinka”. Her words offended many people who perceived her as pro-violence and anti-love. Her most recent “plea” to her fans and followers to attack the orchestra that released her of her performance schedule was unfortunate. Free speech has consequences, and one must own one’s position. Dragging other people who have nothing to do with her position does nothing constructive.
Her attitude, and the mob-like behavior of her devotees, censored Rachmaninoff’s second concerto. It is no longer on this week’s program.
Many people demanded that I respond to their Twitter tirades. Here is my response: I am an artist, not a politician; a lover of all people, not an ambassador for hatred; a human being with a name, not a pseudonym.“
Is Mr. Stewart, an African-Canadian pianist and composer, also “a small but aggressive lobby claiming to represent Ukrainian community” as M. Lisitsa calls her opponents?
Please see a story about Mr. Stewart and hear him playing.