Tchaikovsky Music School changes name to avoid association with Russia
From the new school year onwards, music school Tchaikovsky in the Brussels municipality of Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe will be named 'Brussels International Music Academy'. With this name change, the Belgian-Ukrainian founder of Belgium's largest private music school wants to cut all ties with Russia, Flemish public broadcaster VRT NWS reports.
Nataliya Chepurenko, who came to Belgium to study at the Royal Conservatory in Liège, founded the Brussels-based music school in 2002. She named the institute 'Tchaikovsky', after the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kiev where the Belgian-Ukrainian learned the music trade.
"My school continued to bear the name of a Russian composer, Russian musicians took part in the competitions and master classes we organised, and Russian music continued to resound. Now I realise how wrong I was."
"In the meantime, the war started in 2014 when Russian soldiers began to occupy a part of Ukraine. But during these eight long years, I did not always distinguish between culture, education and politics", Chepurenko writes on her Facebook page. "So my school continued to bear the name of a Russian composer, Russian musicians took part in the competitions and master classes we organised, and Russian music continued to resound. Now I realise how wrong I was."
Because, according to the musician, the name Tchaikovsky is no longer justifiable in light of recent events, she decided a few months ago to change it and henceforth cut all ties or associations, with Russia. Furthermore, there will be no more Russian music at the newly-named Brussels International Music Academy: not in its classes, not during festivals, competitions or master classes. Additionally, Russian musicians are no longer welcome to participate in the international projects organised by the music school.
On 24 August, Ukraine's independence day (from the USSR in 1991), the school is finally turning the page and also launching a new website. With its 500 students and 35 teachers, the Brussels International Music Academy is the largest private music school in Belgium.
© BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ