Some orchestras from around the world have announced they are canceling or changing upcoming concerts featuring the music of legendary Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The Chubu Philharmonic Orchestra in Japan said this week that it would be replacing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” with another piece in a concert scheduled later this month, according to the Mainichi. The decision stemmed from not just Russia’s invasion but also because the iconic “1812 Overture” came after Russia defeated Napoleon’s invading army in 1812. In its place, the orchestra said it would perform “Finlandia,” the 1899 symphonic poem by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, Mainichi reported.
“We stand with Ukraine by following the example of this piece, which is a wish for the freedom and independence of Finland, then under Russian rule,” a Chubu official told the newspaper.
Added Chubu Philharmonic Orchestra board chairman Takahisa Kato, “While there are people who can appreciate it purely as music, there are others who might question why we would perform a Russian victory hymn.”
The move comes after other orchestras have responded in similar ways since the invasion. The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra in Croatia announced last month that it was removing two compositions from Tchaikovsky because of the invasion.
“Due to the new situation in Ukraine that affects the whole world and brings terrifying unease, the Zagreb philharmonic orchestra … voices solidarity with the Ukrainian people and changes the program of tonight’s concert,” the orchestra said, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra in the U.K. was scheduled to perform “1812 Overture” later this month. But those plans changed when the orchestra said last week on Facebook that it would be “inappropriate” to perform Tchaikovsky’s music “in light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
The classical music world has responded in several ways throughout the invasion. Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was recently fired from the Munich Philharmonic orchestra on Tuesday because he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin and has not rejected the invasion of Ukraine.