ColombiaOne.comCrimeSwedish Director of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra Denounces Racist Threats

Swedish Director of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra Denounces Racist Threats


Director Filarmónica Bogotá amenazas
The Swedish director of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra denounces racist threats – Credit: Facebook Joachim Gustafsson

The director of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish conductor Joachim Gustafsson, has received racist threats on his social media. Gustafsson, who expressed “fear for his life” as he spends a significant part of the year in the capital of Colombia due to his work, has reported these incidents to the Prosecutor’s Office, which is already investigating the individual who made the threats via the social media platform Facebook two months ago.

Prosecutor’s Investigation Underway

The Colombian Prosecutor’s Office has announced that it is already conducting investigations into this matter. “In light of the threats publicly known against Mr. Joachim Gustafsson, a Swedish citizen who directs the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prosecutor’s Office (…) opened a criminal case and is carrying out the corresponding investigative work to determine who is behind the intimidations,” stated the Prosecutor’s Office yesterday.

The Events

According to the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, the events date back to July 21 of this year when the orchestra’s principal conductor, Joachim Gustafsson, received threats via Facebook from a user identified with the name “Cultural Hitman.” Consequently, “the Swedish maestro filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office.”

In the same statement, the orchestra alleges that the citizen Francisco Lequera is operating under the alias “Cultural Hitman.” This individual, according to the Philharmonic’s version, sent a xenophobic message to Gustafsson. “Out of my country, cursed bloodthirsty Viking,” was the message posted on the Swedish citizen’s account, which was later deleted by its author.

More Than a Decade with the Philharmonic

The Swedish conductor has been associated with the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012. Today, Gustafsson is recognized as one of the most versatile Scandinavian conductors of his generation. He made his debut with the orchestra in Bogotá 11 years ago and was a regular guest until he was appointed principal conductor of the orchestra in July 2021.

Gustafsson also serves as the artistic director of the Boras Symphony Orchestra and the Tommie Haglund International Music Festival in Sweden. He is also a permanent guest conductor with the Danish National Opera, where in 2014 he conducted, and recorded for the Da Capo label, the world premiere of the opera “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Danish composer Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen.

As a conductor and violinist, he has premiered over 200 works.

Director Filarmónica Bogotá amenazas
Gustafsson with the Bogotá Philharmonic at the Teatro Colón in the Colombian capital – Credit: Facebook Joachim Gustafsson

Solidarity with Gustafsson

The Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra has expressed its solidarity with its principal conductor, stating that Gustafsson “has made enormous contributions to the performance, visibility, and internationalization of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra’s orchestral and musical training system.”

The filed complaint concludes by saying that “clearly, the message sent directly to me by Mr. Francisco Jose Lequerica Otero represents an attack and a serious personal aggression against me, which generates a lot of fear for my safety and well-being in the role I fulfill as the principal conductor of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, for which I remain in Colombia for a significant part of the year.”

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