The Case of Mikhail Arkadyev
First introduce myself. Pyatov Ilya Alexandrovich. A simple listener, but I assure you, the listener is attentive. He attended concerts of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra with different intensities since 1993. He was at more than half of the TSO concerts, which were conducted by Mikhail Arkadyev. I have personally known him since September 2009. He attended many of his rehearsals; well knowing the main part of the repertoire and having experience as a sound engineer, I listened from the hall to the sound of the orchestra and communicated my observations about the balance of the volumes of various groups of instruments. He worked as a sound engineer in separate concerts, including during the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and his Wellington Victory at Vittoria.
I speak on this issue firstly, because I care about what is happening around, and secondly, because I feel deep sympathy and respect for Mikhail Arkadyev. I consider myself obligated when writing this article to be guided only by the first of these two reasons, while the second should be left only as a pretext for action, which does not affect the course of the action itself.
The point of view of Mikhail Arkadyev, repeatedly expressed by him in various interviews, is presented in sufficient detail and at least causes open discussion. I would like to ask everyone: can you imagine that the responsible persons entrusted a “musical treat” to the author of the article “Why I Do Not Accept Putin’s Russia” for the APEC Summit?
Naturally, it is useless to seek direct evidence that Mikhail Arkadyev was fired for his civic position. Therefore, I believe that the course of this case should be based on the consideration of the official version of the dismissal of the conductor in order to verify it.
The explanations of the administration of the Primorsky Regional Philharmonic Society in the media are given very sparingly, which, together with the principal refusal of the director of the philharmonic society to give interviews, looks strange for a government institution, especially in a situation where the case has received wide publicity. The main source is a video report from the PTR channel “Mikhail Arkadyev’s Farewell Symphony” dated 06.15.11
By the way, this is the same report that Arkadyev mentioned in an interview with the correspondent of the newspaper Far East Vedomosti Valeria Fedorenko. The moment is quite curious, so it would be useful to cite here the words of the artistic director of the Philharmonic Tatyana Sergeeva from this report, and then the comment by Mikhail Arkadyev:
“We warned that the contract ends on a certain date, it seems, July 25th. And we are simply obligated to announce a competition for replacement, as we did last year. ”
“My departure is surrounded by an incredible amount of lies. <…> The artistic director of the Philharmonic, Tatyana Sergeeva, said on the air of one of the local television channels that a competition for the chief conductor was allegedly announced last year. ”
Further in the same video report, the artistic director of the Philharmonic speaks about the reasons for the dismissal of the conductor.
The first of these reasons – “quite frequent departures, tours that are not related to the Primorsky Philharmonic” – is disputed by Mikhail Arkadiev and, in the end, can be checked. Moreover, Arkadiev objects to the very formulation of such a claim. According to him, “here, besides the formal side, there are important, as it were substantial points, which should be clarified, since the nuances are not always noticeable to the outside observer. The fact is that the claim itself about the frequent absence, so far even regardless of whether it corresponds to reality, is rather strange and raises questions. And the first question is whether we are talking about the chief conductor and the artistic director of the orchestra, or about just the conductor leading the symphony programs. The very position of chief conductor and artistic director suggests and even obliges its carrier to frequent departures, contacts, and to work to expand the ties of the orchestra. Moreover, the philharmonic should pay for such trips as creative trips of the chief conductor. This is done in all symphony orchestras both in Russia and abroad. In this regard, I found myself in the situation of a serf conductor who sits in Vladivostok 90% of the time, and for a 10% absence he not only receives complaints from his superiors, but even dismissal. ”
The second reason expressed in the video report – “vanity and disorganization in the preparation of a concert” – also requires clarification. Arkadyev himself insists that “disorganization is connected with the poor and unprofessional style of administration of the directorate,” and gives specific examples of this kind of style, including manipulating rehearsal time in the concert hall