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UPDATE | Valentina Lisitsa Finally Confirms New Toronto Area Venue (exclusive)

By Michael Vincent on April 23, 2015

pianist Valentina Lisitsa
pianist Valentina Lisitsa

It is no secret Ukrainian-American pianist Valentina Lisitsa has been struggling to find an alternative venue in Toronto since being dumped from a scheduled April 8-9 appearance with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, over allegations that her Tweets were offensive.

But it looks like the stars have finally aligned for the embattled pianist, who has turned into the poster child for musicians and freedom of speech.

Confirmed today, Lisitsa will return to Toronto to perform two recitals at the Meeting House in Oakville on May 8th and 9th at 8 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to two charities: Noah’s Ark Wetlands Foundation and the Canadian Journalists Defence Fund.

The concert was organized by Les Holdway, a Cambridge, Ontario resident who had been following the story closely.

May 8th, 2015 Valentina Lisitsa Oakville concert Flyer
May 8th, 2015 Valentina Lisitsa Oakville concert Flyer

“I was personally very disappointed with what happened with Valentina’s concert,” Mr. Holdway said over the phone from his home in Cambridge.  “I understand people try to be sensitive to opinions, but at the end of the day I’m not sure what her political opinions have to do with her putting on a concert in Toronto. If we start eliminating anyone with a political view, there is not going to be much music going on.”

After her struggle to secure an alternative venue, Holdway thought, “let’s see what we can do.” He started looking for new space, and “…ended up going to the Meeting House in Oakville – a good-sized venue within proximity to Toronto,” Holdway said. “There was a window on May 8th and 9th,  and we talked to Valentina and she was excited about doing it. She obviously felt bad with the way things had gone and was really interested in playing,”

Tickets will be $24.95 and are on sale now via ticketmaster.com.

[Correction: The article originally incorrectly linked to the Journalists in Distress Fund website instead of the Canadian Journalists Defence Fund. The funds are not the same and the link has been updated. April 27, 2015 ]


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Michael Vincent
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