SAN DIEGO — When the San Diego Symphony performs at the Rady Shell next month, a key piece will not be included — Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture – a celebration of a Russian military victory.
“It’s often thought of as a majestic, exciting piece with loud cannons, fireworks — and kind of celebratory,” said San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer.
Although the 15-minute piece has a long tradition as one of the closing compositions for the summer season, Gilmer says that, given the Russian invasion in Ukraine, it’s the right decision to pull it from the symphony’s concert on Aug. 26.
“We felt, and as you probably know many colleagues around the country felt at this time, as we look at Ukrainian people being decimated by this Russian aggression and unprovoked war, that this was not an appropriate time to hear it the way we often hear it, but to really observe it for what it is and to not perform it at this time,” Gilmer said.
The upcoming 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular is now retitled Tchaikovsky’s Symphonic Tales.
Gilmer says pieces will highlight the prolific composer’s humanity.
Because of the war, many orchestras in the U.S. have removed the 1812 Overture from their programs.
Gilmer believes the public will support the change.
“I think all decisions have multiple sides, but I think we felt that there are people in our audience who would not feel comfortable giving it at this time and we abide by that,” Gilmer told FOX 5.