Pianist Zimerman says he won't return to US
Tuesday 28 April 2009
Polish piano virtuoso Krystian Zimerman, who had enthralled classical music fans on his most recent US tour, suddenly enraged many of them this week when he announced from the stage that he is so unhappy with the United States that he will not perform in the country again.
Zimerman's announcement came near the end of his performance Sunday night at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the last stop on the musician's current US tour. A story posted on the Los Angeles Times' website yesterday said he blamed US foreign policy, but his manager, Mary Pat Buerkle, told The Associated Press his disenchantment with the country goes beyond that.
"He has talked for the last couple years about his touring in the States and of not coming back for a while," Buerkle said yesterday. "I think that there are many contributing factors to that decision, and I don't think it's appropriate to say it's all political."
Zimerman, one of the few pianists who brings his own Steinway with him on tour, has said security workers at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport destroyed one piano in recent years and ripped the keyboard out of another.
According to the Times, Zimerman was about to begin his final piece, Karol Szymanowski's "Variations on a Polish Folk Theme," when he turned to the audience and in a quiet but angry tone accused the United States of wanting to dominate the world.
"Get your hands off of my country," the Times quoted him, saying he also made reference to the US military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Several people walked out, although those who remained gave him a standing ovation at the end of his performance.
Buerkle said she didn't know when Zimerman might be willing to return. She declined to reveal specifically what he was unhappy about.
In a 2006 interview with Vermont's Barre Montpelier Times Argus, Zimerman said ramped-up border security has made it harder for him to bring his piano into the country.
"When people see a big black case, which smells of all kinds of chemicals, they go for it," he said.
In recent years he has taken to leaving a piano shell in the United States, carrying the instrument's innards with him and then assembling it here.
Zimerman, 52, has been described by allmusic.com as "one of the most sensitive and controversial concert pianists to emerge in the latter half of the 20th century."
He was still a teenager when he won the 1975 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, and has won acclaim since for his interpretation of the works of Chopin, Beethoven and others.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
Eurovision 2015: The best moments from Australia's random entry to Lithuania's gay kiss
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear trio returns with a blend of fireworks, AC/DC and 'automotive pornography'
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland