Rape accused Russian Mikhail Pletnev pulls out of concerts

Mikhail Pletnev - the renowned Russian pianist and conductor accused of raping a boy - has pulled out of his BBC Proms performance.

The 53-year-old has also decided not to conduct a concert in Edinburgh, saying he did not want the accusations against him to "overshadow" the events in Scotland and at the Royal Albert Hall.

Andrey Boreyko, a former member of the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) Conductor Collegium, has been named as his replacement for both concerts.

Pletnev said: "I do not wish to overshadow the wonderful music making of the RNO and their tour in the UK with the current accusations surrounding my person.

"I will not comment on the ongoing investigation, but I hope the matter will be resolved speedily and it will be clear that I am innocent of the accusations against me. I look forward to returning to the UK with my orchestra soon."

An RNO spokeswoman said: "Mikhail Pletnev decided today that he will not be conducting the concerts of the RNO in London on August 18 and in Edinburgh on August 19 in order to have the necessary time to deal with the accusations against him."

The musician was accused of the rape in Thailand. He was bailed and later received permission to leave the country temporarily.

A BBC Proms spokeswoman confirmed: "Mikhail Pletnev has decided not to conduct the Russian National Orchestra at the BBC Proms on 18 August.

"We are delighted that Andrey Boreyko, a former member of the RNO Conductor Collegium, will now conduct this concert."

She said the programme of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Tchaikovsky's Suite No 3 in G major remained unchanged.