Conductor Tugan Sokhiev has resigned from his duties at the Bolshoi Theater and the Orchester National du Capitole de Toulouse.

In a statement via Facebook, the bandleader said: ‘I know a lot of people have been waiting for me to speak out and hear my position on what’s going on right now. It took me a while to figure out what is going on and how to express these complex feelings that current events have caused in me.

He continued, “First of all, I have to say the most important thing: I have never supported and will always be against any conflict in any form. For some people to even question my desire for peace and think that I, as a musician, could ever speak up for anything other than peace on our planet is shocking and offensive.

“During various catastrophic geopolitical events that our humanity has faced over the past twenty years of my career, I have always stood with my fellow musicians and we have always, together, shown and expressed support and compassion for all victims. of these conflicts. That’s what we musicians do, we express things with music, we say emotional things with music, we comfort those in need with music. We musicians are fortunate to be able to speak this international language which can sometimes express more than any word known to civilization.

He added: “I am still very proud to be a conductor who comes from such a culturally rich country as Russia and I am also very proud to be part of the rich French musical life since 2003. is what the music does. It connects people and artists from different continents and cultures, it heals souls across borders and gives hope for a peaceful existence on this planet. Music can be dramatic, lyrical, funny, sad but never offensive! This was proven by my very fruitful partnership with the Grand Orchester Toulouse. That’s what my fantastic Bolshoi Theater ensemble showed me every time I conducted performances with them in Russia or on tour in Europe. Both in Toulouse and at the Bolshoi Theater I regularly invited Ukrainian singers and conductors. We never even thought about our nationalities. We loved making music together. And it still is. This is why I launched the Franco-Russe festival in Toulouse, to show everyone that the French and the Russians are linked historically, culturally, spiritually and musically and that I am proud of this link between our two great countries that I ‘love. This celebration is now contested by Toulouse politicians and administrators. That’s a shame. And they want
me to speak out for peace! I believe that this festival can do more by building bridges than by political words.

“Over the past few days I have witnessed something that I thought I would never see in my life. In Europe today I am forced to make a choice and choose one of my musical family rather than I am being asked to choose one cultural tradition over another. I am being asked to choose one artist over another. I am being asked to choose one singer over another. Soon I will be asked to choose between Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy. This is already happening in Poland, a European country, where Russian music is
prohibited.”

He concluded that I cannot bear to witness how my colleagues, artists, actors, singers, dancers, directors are threatened, treated disrespectfully and victimized by the so-called “cancel culture”. As musicians, we have an extraordinary opportunity and mission to keep the human race kind and respectful to one another by playing and performing these great composers. We, musicians, are there to recall through Shostakovich’s music the horrors of war. We musicians are the ambassadors of peace. Instead of using ourselves and our music to unite nations and peoples, we are divided and ostracized.

“Due to all that I have said above and being forced to face the impossible option of choosing between my dearly beloved Russian and French musicians, I have decided to resign from my duties as musical director of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Orchester National du Capitole de Toulouse. with immediate effect. This decision should confirm to all concerned that I am a very lucky person, to be able to know the artists of the Bolshoi Theater and the musicians of the Toulouse orchestra. It is always a privilege to make music with all the wonderful artists of these two institutions and I will always be by their side as a MUSICIAN!!!!”

The statement comes days after the mayor of Toulouse pressured the conductor to make a statement regarding the war ahead of his March 18 concert. He is the last Russian artist to be affected by the war in Ukraine and to leave his post.