Video: Protester Disrupts St. Petersburg Philharmonic Concert in San Francisco

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 - 11:29 AM

Vladimir Putin and Yuri Temirkanov at a gala for the 75th anniversary of the conductor in December Vladimir Putin and Yuri Temirkanov at a gala for the 75th anniversary of the conductor in December (Kremlin press office)

A concert Monday night in San Francisco by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic was interrupted by a gay rights activist condemning conductor Yuri Temirkanov for his ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

An amateur video taken at the performance shows one protester shouting at Temirkanov as the Russian conductor signaled the start of Overture to The Barber of Seville, prompting boos and some scattered applause from other audience members. A small group of protesters also greeted patrons outside Davies Symphony Hall, according to published reports.

The St. Petersburg Philharmonic’s American management company, Opus 3 Artists, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Monday night’s protest was the first such incident reported on the orchestra’s 19-stop tour of the U.S. and Mexico, which ends on Sunday.

The lone in-house protester, seated in the terrace section of the auditorium, shouted, "Yuri, you're a sexist Putinist! Tell Putin to Free Pussy Riot now!" Wearing a day-glo knit ski-mask evocative of the Russian punk band, she was escorted out of the hall by an usher and the concert began shortly thereafter.

A group called Gays without Borders organized the protest, which had been widely publicized beforehand.

The incident echoed similar recent protests against Valery Gergiev, another Russian maestro with personal ties to Putin. The protesters on Monday night claim that Temirkanov threw his support behind the president’s election bid in 2012; the two men were seen together at a 75th birthday event for the conductor in December.

Temirkanov has also received negative attention for disparaging remarks about women conductors. In comments reported last year by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, Temirkanov told an interviewer that “the essence of the conductor’s profession is strength. The essence of a woman is weakness.”

Despite the ensuing furor, the conductor’s American concerts have drawn widespread praise, with Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette recently calling the Philharmonic “a Russian national treasure” and Temirkanov "one of the best in the world."

Pussy Riot disrupts Russian orchestra's San Francisco concert from MPetrelis on Vimeo.


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Comments [8]

Brunnhilde from nyc

I'm a musician and I don't care a good flying _ _ _ _ what someone's sexual orientation is NOR what one's political orientation is..... Sex is over-rated and politics is over-stated!

Mar. 06 2014 12:47 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I just heard on the radio that someone was beaten outside of Washington Square Park by persons asking if he was gay.

Mar. 06 2014 10:11 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Gays should not be persecuted against but we persecute and beat up gays in the U.S. Leave the music alone. We have enough ugliness in the world as it is. As for our propaganda against Russia, we have that clown Kerry stating that Russia illegally invaded the Crimea. What about our invasions for the past 60 years. We have bases in 130 countries. Russia has a naval base in the Crimea. That is what they are protecting. Consequences that have arisen by the uprising, there is to be a referendum in Crimea whether or not they will join the Russian federation. As for our stating that there should be sanctions against Russia. Europe gets much of its oil and gas from Russia. As for McCain and Graham who want to go to war with everyone. Russia can fight back. They have the means to do so.

Mar. 06 2014 07:46 AM
Dave B. from NYC, NY

Another clown heard from. Is there a reason why these protesters can't dress like adults?

Mar. 05 2014 03:55 PM

Being gay isn't illegal in Russia, the law that passed, which I disagree with, prohibits gay propaganda to minors. We all know propaganda doesn't turn anyone gay or straight, sexual orientation's encoded in the human gene.

Having said that, the anti Russia propaganda in the western media is what needs to stop. Where's Russia's Matthew Shepard? Anti gay violence is just as predominant in the US, even in the gay Greenwich Village in New York for heavens sakes, as it is in Russia.

Same thing now with this Ukraine "invasion" by the Russians, as Kucinich correctly pointed out on Fox News last night:

"What I'd do is not have USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy working with U.S. taxpayers' money to knock off an elected government in Ukraine, which is what they did. I wouldn't try to force the people of Ukraine into a deal with NATO against their interest or into a deal with the European Union, which is against their economic interest."

Mar. 05 2014 01:52 PM
Bernie from UWS

It's time American audiences and venues hold people like Temirkanov and Gergiev to account. There's not hard boundary between art and politics in Russia. To suggest otherwise is naive.

Mar. 04 2014 10:31 PM
NYer from East Village

..with ties to Putin.

They ALL have ties to Putin!

Mar. 04 2014 07:56 PM
Norma J F Harrison from Berkeley, Ca., U.S.A.

Homosexuals are just people. Women's and men's personalities capabilities, tastes, skills, all mesh into one with multitudes of diffferences most often not being ascribed to gender, certainly not as weakness or strength, vague aspersions becoming only what individual's translation of those are. There is no such thing as women are weakness. Yes, women largely do not have comparable upper body strength to men. It's a good thing we're different - we're gorgeous - women ... men ... us all! ...except people caught up in old churchly categories that enabled witch hunts, for example - and holocausts.

Mar. 04 2014 06:32 PM

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