Rape charge pianist Pletnev pulls out of concerts

Image caption, Mikhail Pletnev denies the allegations against him

A Russian pianist who has been accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in Thailand has pulled out of concerts planned for Edinburgh and London.

Mikhail Pletnev, who conducts the Russian National Orchestra (RNO), said he needed time to deal with the allegations against him.

He had been due to conduct the concerts of the RNO in London on 18 August and at the Edinburgh Festival on 19 August.

Andrey Boreyko has been named as his replacement for both concerts.

Mr Pletnev, 53, is an internationally famous musician - a virtuoso pianist, composer and conductor - and a friend of former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.

He won a Grammy in 2005 for an arrangement of Prokofiev's Cinderella.

Mr Pletnev was charged with rape in July. If found guilty he could face up to 20 years in prison.

He 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."

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