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A cellist's swan song no cause for encore

By Mu Qian (China Daily)

09:20, May 25, 2012

Russian cellist Oleg Vedernikov has quickly become the most famous foreigner in China because of his recent performance - not onstage but rather on a train from Liaoning province's capital Shenyang to Beijing.

Vedernikov was the Beijing Symphony Orchestra's principal cellist until he was sacked on May 21 - a week after he put his feet up on the seat of a woman passenger in front of him and verbally abused her in Chinese when she confronted him.

A passenger recorded video of the incident and posted it online, where it garnered much attention.

The video shows a policeman, who came to settle the dispute, inquire about Vedernikov's occupation.

When he learned Vedernikov was a musician, he sarcastically said to the woman: "Let it be. He's an artist."

The officer's words eased the tension a bit. His remark suggests artists are understood to behave differently.

But the Beijing Symphony Orchestra doesn't think so.

Although Vedernikov released a video of his apology afterward, the orchestra decided to fire him because he had "severely harmed the reputation of the orchestra".

"Beijing Symphony Orchestra is an ambassador of advanced culture," the orchestra's music director Tan Lihua said in a statement.

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