On Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June 2022, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra will be presenting a special programme with two Russian musicians: conductor Stanislav Kochanovsky and pianist Nikolai Lugansky. The programme will include pieces by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Dimitri Shostakovich, and Hawar Tawfiq.
In the run-up to this concert, some ticket holders and the Ukrainians in the Netherlands Foundation have urged us to investigate whether these Russian artists are on the right side. There was even a call to end our collaboration with Nikolai Lugansky, because he was said to be on the wrong side. We took those concerns very seriously. We have had discussions with experts and with those involved, maintaining respect for everyone's opinions and feelings. This process proved to us that the right choice is to continue offering these musicians a platform and to connect them with each other and with our audience through music.
We have neither heard nor found any justification for canceling our partnership with Nikolai Lugansky or Stanislav Kochanovsky, so the concerts with both musicians will go ahead as planned. In line with the policy of our Secretaryof Education, Culture and Science and following the guidelines of the Dutch Federation of Artists and Concert Management, we are providing space for these individual Russian artists so they can"continue to appreciate the connecting power of art and culture," as Secretary Gunay Uslu put it in her statement of solidarity with Ukraine.
In these times of war and division, at the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, we believe it's more important than ever to express the unifying power of music. Although there are voices calling for a boycott of all Russian culture and all Russian artists and makers, it is our conviction that removing Russian cultural expressions from our stages and museums is not a step we want to take. In fact, the power of art and culture lies in the unifying role it can play and has long played across time and culture. It is not the expression of one particular political regime.
Culture is a reflection of society. Music connects people, regardless of their nationality.