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BREAKING | Valentina Lisitsa Cancels Concert Over Concerns About Organiser’s Credibility

By Michael Vincent on May 4, 2015

Pianist Valentina Lisitsa cancels Oakville concert indefinitely.
Pianist Valentina Lisitsa cancels Oakville concert indefinitely.

As reported by Norman Lechrecht, YouTube pianist Valentina Lisitsa – who was turned away by the TSO over offensive and politically motivated tweets involving the ongoing Ukrainian conflict – is now cutting her losses and walking away from Toronto altogether.

Lisitsa has officially cancelled her scheduled May 8th concert in Oakville at The Meeting House.

In a letter published on Lechrecht’s Slipped Disc website, Lisitsa expressed concerns pertaining to the credibility of the event organizer Les Holdway’s charities as the reason she has cancelled the event.

Dear Mr.Holdway,

I don’t know what the reasons are behind your intent to make the concerts on May 8 and 9.  Whether you saw an opportunity as an entrepreneur to make some money on my “five minutes of fame” – or you genuinely tried to do a good deed for the society, inspired by the publicity that surrounded my cause – it’s not for me to judge.
At this point I accept nothing but cold, hard facts that I could verify.
1. You don’t have the charities you said you have. I don’t care about semantics or legal terms or whether they are “in process or being” this or that… The fact is – you don’t have them now. You didn’t have them when you called me to arrange the concerts. By advertising the concert as FUNDRAISER for CHARITIES you mislead people and made me an unwitting participant in this deception.

3. You say you paid over $9,000 in expenses for rentals etc in preparation for the concert.
I am yet to hear from Meeting House whether you made 100% nonrefundable deposit. But their rent for commercial and non-profit events is public information. It’s 1/10th of the number you named. Need I say more?
4. I spoke with Steinway and was told that: first of all you didn’t pay them. Second, you downgraded from a concert grand to a small piano without even asking me.
For me it’s enough “evidence”.
Please kindly request Ticketmaster to issue the refunds to the audience.
I will make a statement on Facebook about the cancelation.
I thank you for a hard lesson you gave me: I should be less trusting of people in a future, no matter how good their intents may seem.


First reported last week, the concert in Oakville at The Meeting House was to take place on May 8 – 9, 2015. Les Holdway, a developer from Cambridge Ontario, stated the concert was to be cut down to just one performance due to a conflict with Lisitsa’s travel schedule. The reason was not publicly confirmed by Lisitsa.

Les Holdway, Broker at Rescom Real Estate, owner Blackbridge Mill Inn
Les Holdway, Broker at Rescom Real Estate, owner Blackbridge Mill Inn

Musical Toronto then began receiving reports by sources questioning to the validity of the charities run by event organizer Les Holdway. The charities were Noah’s Ark Wetlands Foundation and the Canadian Journalists Defence Fund.

A closer look at the charities found that The Wetland Foundation registered as a charity in 2002, but had its charitable status revoked by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in 2013 for “Failure to File”. The charity appears to have not been active since 2003, and only raised a total of $1,040.

The second charity (The Canadian Journalists Defence Fund), currently has no public record in the CRA charity database. According to Holdway (via twitter), this was because it was only incorporated on April 9, 2015.

In an interview with Holdway last week, he stated he was intending on recording the concert, but did not state how he intended on using the recording. He also said that Steinway had effectively donated a piano to the event at no cost. This fact was disputed, but not confirmed.

We can only offer speculation as to how Holdway would have benefited from the concert, but it seems Lisitsa felt that she was being taken advantage of and pulled out of the event.

At this time we can confirm ticketmaster is not longer selling tickets and will be offering full refunds.


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Michael Vincent
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