In the morning, several e-mails that I received have shocked me.
The pieces played by Valentina Lisitsa, a Kiev-born pianist often nicknamed "web's favorite pianist", have been dropped by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from a planned concert for an insane reason: because her tweets were critical of the current government in the city where she was born!
She was told the reason of her silencing and offered the full compensation for her concert if she won't reveal the political motivation behind the censorship to the world. Thankfully, she can't be bribed so easily so we have learned what happened. The corrupt organizers replaced her with a more politically convenient Stewart Goodyear. See Google News.
Like your humble correspondent, she was born in 1973 and in a communist country – in Kiev, USSR. She is ethnically half-Russian, half-Polish. At the age of three, she began to play the piano. She wanted to become a champion in chess but at the end, she did receive the proper training and became a piano player.
Twenty years ago, she and her future husband moved to the U.S. to advance their piano careers. At some moment, she considered becoming a government worker in D.C. But in 2007, she posted her first YouTube video. Her online fame exploded when she posted her Chopin etudes for free. Those pieces made it to the #1 in Amazon's classical music section, too.
This YouTube video of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata has been played more than 9 million times; the total number of views on her YouTube channel is about 50 million. I was also trained as a piano player and was among the best kids, regionally, but it seems almost obvious to me that I could have never played compositions such as this "true professional" at the same speed. I think that this sonata is a great technical test for a pianist – Beethoven probably wrote it so that the pianists play it at an insane speed.
Just to be sure, if you watch her Für Elise (4.6 million views), something I could play, you may see her sensitive qualities, too. Liszt's Totentanz (2 million views) is fast and cool, too.
Her Tweets (the feed's name is NedoUkraïnka, pretty witty: it's a "not yet completed/full-fledged Ukrainian", meaning "subhuman" from an Ukrainian official viewpoint) relevant for the "ban" seem to convey good points although I would say that nothing is original enough to be controversial. I would almost certainly agree with more than 95% of the content.
Go Novorossiya.Amen to that.
Kiev kills scores of civilians, NATO enables murderers… Russia sent 1,000 men to Ukraine? Does it make sense? Why not send 100 times more and finish it in 3 days?…
She made fun of the first American who committed suicide by going to fight on Yatsenyuk's side, she often emphasized how corrupt the Western media are when they describe the Ukranian civil war. And there were unflattering cartoons reflecting the current lousy state of the Ukrainian nation. Whether such tough cartoon humor is good or bad depends on one's taste and mood and I have mixed feelings myself but this humor doesn't differ from the satire posted about many other political topics.
Her skills were inconvenient for the organized ethnic Ukrainian savages. These primitive mobs obviously control the cultural life in cities like Toronto so her part of the concert was censored. The ban was "rationalized" by the usual politically correct propaganda about "deeply offensive" online content posted by Lisitsa. What is actually deeply offensive is that brainwashed, totalitarian, almost worthless scum decides about the fate of best pianists' concerts – by a pianist who is good both in music and politics – according to political criteria.
What I find so troubling is that this censorship – which was possible in a seemingly Western country named Canada – apparently surpasses what I remember from the times of communism. They did lots of bad things but we were exposed to a reasonable amount of Western culture and I don't remember a concert that was canceled because a Western musician would point out that the communists suck.
This is classical music. You just shouldn't use it to politically manipulate masses, and even the communists respect this basic level of decency. In fact, I think that we may go further. Even Adolf Hitler allowed black and other inconvenient athletes to compete at the 1936 Olympic Games – and earn gold medals.
The exact reason why her music is so inconvenient for the Euromaidan people and those who lick their rectums (and act as their puppet masters, too) is self-evident. Music fans could see that the skillful if not ingenious people tend to side with Novorussia, not with the Euromaidan. But you know, the educated people know it, anyway. The good musicians born in Ukraine are ethnic Russians. The (now destroyed) airport in Donetsk was named after Sergei Prokofiev who was born in the region but who was ethnic Russian. I think that you won't find an ethnic Ukrainian counterpart of him. Or counterparts of Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, Borodin, Balakirev... you've gotten my point, haven't you?
When it comes to Eastern Slavic classical music (and many other fields of the human activity), it is the ethnic Russians – plus the Russian Jews – who are superior. Fascist propaganda may censor pro-Russian musicians and try to do everything to distort the truth. But the truth won't really change.
As long as totally elementary political freedoms are preserved, Ms Lisitsa has the indisputable right to oppose the post-coup arrangement in Ukraine – like about 1/2 of the people whose opinions about the issue matter. Regardless of her political opinions, she is a great interpreter – and those who suggest that her inconvenient tweets "overshadowed" her music only prove their dishonesty. And the contracts shouldn't be violated. The people behind this shameful ban should be ashamed, spat upon, and they should be removed from the decision making on the Earth, too. The world is too small for cultural people and those who do their best to harm the cultural people in order to elevate their primitive fascist values and propaganda.
Read her touching letter (original: her Facebook) where she explains the "double life" (celebrity / heartbroken mother) life she was living in the recent year; her nickname; points out that she also speaks Ukrainian, better than Poroshenko does; and details about the censorship, among other things.
Daniel McAdams (Ron Paul Institute) has some more details about what happened before this ban in his text "Toronto Symphony Orchestra Goes Full Stalin".