They say including Alexander Malofeev would be "inappropriate."
In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) is cancelling all planned performances by Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev.
Only 20 years old, Malofeev is considered a piano prodigy. He was scheduled to perform with the OSM in the concert Michael Tilson Thomas: Monumental on March 8, 9, and 10. Though the concert will go on, Malofeev has been withdrawn from the list of performers.
The OSM waited until a few days into the Russian-Ukrainian war to withdraw Malofeev, stating that his inclusion wouldn't "convey the universal message that music unites peoples and cultures in a spirit of peace, fellowship, and human solidarity."
That said, the OSM had only good things to say about Malofeev as a musician.
"The OSM feels that it would be inappropriate to receive Mr. Malofeev this week," the OSM wrote in a statement shared with MTL Blog. "We continue, however, to believe in the importance of maintaining relationships with artists of all nationalities who embrace messages of peace and hope. We look forward to welcoming this exceptional artist when the context allows it."
In an email, an OSM spokesperson added that "Mr. Malofeev's presence with the Orchestra this week would not allow the OSM to fulfill its essential mission to 'convey the universal message that music unites peoples and cultures in a spirit of peace, fellowship, and human solidarity.'"
Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas also weighed in on the issue, mirroring the OSM's sentiments.
"I was very pleased to be working in Montreal for the first time with the extraordinary young pianist Alexander Malofeev," Tilson Thomas said. "It is regrettable that political situations have made it impossible. I look forward to the possibility of collaborating with him in the near future."