[Marxism] Krystian Zimeran: Pianist won't play again in the US

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 12:08:40 MDT 2009

Wow! What a guy!
In the earlier favorable review linked at the bottom of the article
which Jon linked to is the following:
"I hope Zimerman reconsiders his U.S. embargo.  He has, of course,
angered some Americans.  But our country is precisely the place where
politics are not outlawed from the concert hall.  And I can’t imagine
a more compelling case to be made for Polish solidarity than his
incomparable performance of these variations."
That reminded me of a political incident at a concert long-ago that I
somehow never got around to sharing with anyone, an incident that a)
proves what the reviewer said about politics in US concert halls and
b) is ironically the political mirror image of what happened with
Brother Zimerman:
Our high school band went on a field trip to hear an orchestra perform
downtown. This would have been in the early 1970s. The conductor was
from the U.S. Army, and conducted in full military uniform. Before
playing a piece by Shostakovich, he told the audience that
Shostakovich was a dupe of Stalin -- or maybe was forced by Stalin to
alter his music, I don't remember. I didn't know much about Stalin,
and nothing at all about Shostakovich. And I haven't delved since into
the still-raging debate about what Shostakovich really believed.
But the moment he said this I thought to myself, "You asshole! You've
go a lot of nerve, performing on stage in the uniform of a military
right now murdering people in Vietnam, and you're lecturing us about
how much better our country is than Russia?!"
One of many radicalizing incidents from my youth...
Andy P.

On 4/28/09, Jon Flanders <jonathan.flanders at verizon.net> wrote:
> Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman, who is widely admired for his
> virtuosic performances and who famously tours with his own
> custom-altered Steinway, created a furor at Disney Hall on Sunday night
> when he stopped his recital to announce that this would be his last
> American appearance -- in protest of the nation's military policies
> overseas.

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