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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ashkenazy Quits London Post

LONDON -- The flamboyant pianist-turned-conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy has quit as music director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, his agent said Tuesday.


Ashkenazy is reportedly bitter about the Royal Philharmonic's decision to negotiate with Italian conductor Daniele Gatti as a successor without getting his approval first.


Ashkenazy, currently in Berlin conducting the German Symphony Orchestra, is not expected to fulfill engagements with the philharmonic in London in March.


Although the 57-year-old Russian has indicated willingness to retire in the next few years, he says his contract entitles him to be consulted on any top-tier appointment.


"It's stupefying lack of consideration."


"He feels mostly hurt and stunned that he could be treated in this manner," his agent, Jasper Parrott, said.


"He has always been ready, with appropriate discussions, to move over. But he finds it incomprehensible that people to whom he has devoted his very best efforts for many years -- people he considers his friends and colleagues -- should not consult or inform him or ask his reaction,'' Parrott said.


The Royal Philharmonic is in negotiations with Gatti, an orchestra spokesman said, but he would not confirm if the Italian had been offered the job.


Ashkenazy, who defected to the West more than 30 years ago, had been associated with the Royal Philharmonic since 1984 and succeeded Andre Previn as music director in 1986.