Violinist sues his former quartet for half a million

A violinist is suing his former quartet, claiming they forced him to resign due to pressure from the Chinese Government. He is asking for USD500,000 (€423,000), or a quarter of the group’s valuation.

Chinese-born violinist Yi-Wen Jiang was kicked out of the Shanghai Quartet in March this year after posts he made on social media went viral. In them, Jiang referred to Chinese people as “pigs” and made other deragotory comments. The comments were widely criticised in China.

The quartet – which is the resident quartet at Montclair State University (MSU) – then announced Jiang’s resignation, which seemed to draw a line under the episode.

Now though Jiang is suing both the ensemble and MSU. In court papers the violinist states that he was “the victim of political persecution and was abandoned by his partners.”

The Shanghai Quartet denies Jiang’s claims, and has released the following statement:

“In March, the Shanghai Quartet collectively accepted the voluntary resignation of violinist Yi-Wen Jiang. Then as now, we regret that our former member, Mr. Jiang, has chosen, through his words and actions to put the reputation and success of the Shanghai Quartet at risk. The lawsuit is without merit and fanciful.

“Our audience is important to us, and enjoying deep musical experiences with them is our priority and focus. We look forward to continuing to share music with our fans around the world, and we thank them for their continuing support.”