Friday, April 10, 2015

Valentina Lisitsa’s vitriol: Nazi rhetoric or music to your ears?

Little-known American pianist, Valentina Lisitsa, created her own popularity out of thin air by posting videos of her performances on YouTube. Recently, she was propelled into notoriety for a number of hate-filled Twitter postings. Lisitsa’s hate-mongering, offensive and racist public speech caused the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to dismiss her from a previously scheduled performance. They’re now facing criticism for alleged censorship of what RT (formerly Russia Today) described as Lisitsa’s “pro-Russian Tweets.”

Lisitsa was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, but is quick to point out that she is Russian and Polish by nationality. She has been spewing her visceral hatred towards Ukraine and all things Ukrainian for years, after immigrating to the United States in the ‘90s. Lisitsa’s criticism may be sour grapes, caused by the fact that Ukraine never invited her to perform in her former homeland. She was also expressing her anger at the Ukrainian diaspora for referring to her as “Ukrainian-born” and not “Ukrainian,” in spite of the fact that she is indeed a Ukrainian-born American citizen. At the same time, Lisitsa had no issue whatsoever with the head of RT, Margarita Simonyan and other RT personnel referring to her as a “Ukrainian-born pianist.”