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International piano competition reverses ban on Russian competitors at finals in Calgary

Nine days after announcing it had revoked invitations for a half-dozen Russian pianists, an international music competition has backtracked on its decision and will allow competitors from the country to attend the finals in Calgary.

“As a board, we have actively engaged in difficult conversations and individual reflection leading to a reconsideration of our decision,” reads a statement posted on the Honens International Piano Competition’s website on Thursday. “Ultimately, we have decided to reinstate competitors of Russian nationality.”

READ MORE: Russian pianists’ invitations revoked for international competition in Calgary

The competition’s organizers said it originally made the “difficult decision” to revoke invitations to Russian competitors “following lengthy and in-depth discussions about the worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”

“Since that decision, we have seen and heard so much,” the competition’s organizers said. “Alongside the horrific images from across Ukraine, we’ve seen thousands of Russian citizens arrested for passive protests against the invasion, and a steady exodus of citizens from Russia.

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“Accompanying these images, we have also heard from many important voices from the global music community, including those of our own past laureates and current competitors, who strongly believe that this decision negatively impacts those who neither played a role in nor support the Russian government’s actions.”

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Russian pianists have invite revoked from international piano competition

Russian pianists have invite revoked from international piano competition – Mar 9, 2022

Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine has led to the cancellation of a number of major sporting and cultural events in that country and in some cases impacted Russians practising their craft overseas.

READ MORE: F1 cancels Russian Grand Prix event in 2022 and beyond amid ongoing war in Ukraine

The organizers of the Honens competition said they continue to “unconditionally” condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “and the human rights violations perpetrated by the Russian government, aided by Belarus.”

“We stand with the people of Ukraine in defence of their freedom,” the organizers said.

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“Honens believes that music has the ability to transcend nations and politics. May it be a source of comfort that unites rather than divides us.”

The competition’s organizers noted that while they are reinstating Russian participants, anyone who shows support for the military invasion of Ukraine “will not be welcome in the competition.”

“Likewise, any laureate of the 2022 competition who demonstrates direct or indirect support for the invasion of Ukraine will be stripped of their laureate status.”

READ MORE: Ukraine searches for survivors from Mariupol theatre bombed by Russia

This year’s edition of the Honens International Piano Competition sees 10 pianists who emerged from the quarterfinals in New York and Frankfurt advance to the semi-finals and finals being held in Calgary in October.

The winner will receive $100,000 and a three-year artistic and career development program.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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