Keith Pascoe, violinist of the Vanbrugh Quartet, stands down for upcoming Moscow trip.
There’s been much debate but little action with respect to Russia’s increasingly draconian laws against homosexuality with most world governments seemingly unprepared to boycot actual events. In the classical music world however one lone violinist has decided to make a personal and political stand.
On the slipped disc arts website, Keith Pascoe explains the reasons that he has withdrawn from an upcoming concert: “I have decided not to join my colleagues in the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet on a trip to Moscow in December”, he writes. “It was a personal decision taken after a lengthy discussion with my colleagues. We felt it best to maintain the great links we have with the Russian-Irish festival over there and so I persuaded my colleagues to ask another violinist to replace me for the visit.”
He goes on to make a dignified and personal statement: “Being gay myself I felt this the best way to highlight the pernicious laws that are in force now: a license for homophobic bullying in schools and a green light to gay-bashers all over Russia. I think many musicians will sooner or later realise what serious consequences these laws will have on Russians and on the safety of visiting LGBT people, whether musicians or not.”
The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet is one of Europe’s most successful ensembles internationally recognised for its beauty of sound, clarity of texture and integrity of interpretation within an unusually wide and varied range of repertoire. Their discography includes CDs of chamber music by Charles Villiers Stanford and Luigi Boccherini on Hyperion.
Pascoe's action comes in the wake of Gidon Kremer's high profile concert against Russia's recent legislation reported as reported in Limelight. The event will feature the likes of Daniel Barenboim, Martha Argerich and Kremer himself. Perhaps they would now like to invite the Vanbrughs?
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