Dublin Piano Competition’s decision to ban Russian competitors faces criticism

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The Dublin International Piano Competition’s decision to ban Russian competitors has been criticized by many musicians.

The prestigious competition excluded nine Russian pianists due to the war in Ukraine out of the 65 initially planned.

In an email sent to Russian contestants, organizers said they could not include them in this year’s contest due to the invasion.

“We appreciate the effort and commitment of every hopeful competitor. We hope that shared cultural values ​​will help bring the world together peacefully in the future,” they said.

The nine excluded competitors, according to thepianoleague.com, are Sergey Belyavskiy, Arseniy Gusev, Maxim Kinasov, Roman Kosyakov, Arsenii Mun, Ilya Shmukler, Vitaly Starikov, Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev and Dmitry Yudin.

The 12th Dublin International Piano Competition will take place from 17-24 May with quarter-finals and semi-finals scheduled at the TU Dublin Conservatory, Grangegorman. The final will take place at the National Concert Hall in Earlsfort Terrace.

The top prize is €15,000, but the main objective of the competition is to help pianists launch successful international careers as musicians.

The decision was not well received by some of the excluded musicians. Roman Kosyakov wrote on his Instagram page: “I’m just curious, how will this help to stop the war”.

Arsenii Mun, another Russian pianist excluded from the competition after being selected, said he was committed as a musician to bringing “peace and joy” through his music.

Writing on his Facebook page, he added: “And I hope people will understand that I and most of my fellow musicians and friends from Russia are against war and aggression.

“It’s so sad to see how concert organizations cancel concerts and competitions ban Russian musicians who have in fact never publicly supported the government and furthermore made statements against the war!!!

“People should know that being Russian does NOT mean that we participate in such decisions!”

London-based cellist Julia Morneweg said the decision by festivals like Dublin to exclude Russian artists was a form of suffering inflicted on Russians who do not support the war.

She wrote on her Instagram page: “The torment and pain – physical, visceral pain – that I see not only Yuri, but all of our close Russian friends going through, is heartbreaking.

“Unfortunately, none of this is helped by a few arts organizations who have decided that the best way to show their solidarity with Ukraine would be to exclude Russian artists or Russian music.

“To be clear: I am not talking about the Gergievs, Netrebkos and Matsuevs of this world, but incredibly hardworking and decent musicians who abhor Putin with every fiber of their being and who, in many cases, left Russia precisely at because of the political climate there.

“There is NO excuse for this. Music is not like sport – we do not take the stage as representatives of the country we were born in. We cross borders and continents to become the best possible artists.

The Dublin International Piano Competition has yet to respond to The Irish Times requesting comment.

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