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Sudden disharmony: Pro-Putin maestros get the boot in Europe

Ukraine invasion poses moral dilemma for Russian musicians abroad

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, presents a medal to Valery Gergiev in 2016. The two are known to be friends.   © AP

LONDON -- The firing was sudden. Russian maestro Valery Gergiev was sacked as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra on March 1.

A week earlier, Russia had invaded Ukraine, and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter immediately presented the Russian conductor an ultimatum. Either "clearly and unequivocally distance himself" from Russia's "special military operation" or leave.

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