Jazz pianist Beka Gochiashvili will not perform in Moscow and St Petersburg, two Russian cities on the Stanley Clarke Band's upcoming European tour, the artist announced on Thursday.
Gochiashvili, a major young jazz talent from Georgia, posted an update on his social media saying he would skip performing in the two cities, as the band gears up to launch their month-long programme.
"I’ll be playing in all those cities EXCEPT of Moscow and St. Petersburg," the pianist announced in a post sharing the calendar featuring gigs in cities across Europe.
Gochiashvili's decision comes on the backdrop of a history of artists from Georgia facing a controversial decision on whether to perform in Russia as troops from the country occupy two of Georgia's regions since the 2008 Russian-Georgian War.
A number of performers and troupes from Georgia have faced criticism in the country after deciding to appear in tours to and shows in Russia over the past few years.
Gochiashvili has been performing in the band led by four-time Grammy Award-winning bassist Stanley Clarke, recognised as a jazz fusion pioneer and a major figure in the genre.
The young pianist has been praised by another American jazz legend Chick Corea as "a brilliant young piano prodigy” and by The Encore as being "already well on his way to becoming the next generation jazz sensation”.
The Stanley Clarke Band will launch their European tour on April 5 in France and conclude the performances 12 shows later, on April 27 in Germany.