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Fierce Controversy form Zimerman’s Boycott

April 29, 2009

The Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman criticized US foreign policy at his performance in Disney Hall and then announced that he will no longer play in the United States. Such a statement has angered some of his audience and many Americans from hearing the news, and draw heated debates through out the world.

Well, if I sit in the Disney Hall, I’m not sure that I’d be happy to hear that comment. I come to listen to the music. On the other hand, I’d want to understand why someone came here making such a noise.

Many commenters at seemed to think that Zimerman should have expressed gratitude that the U.S. “rescued” his nation from Soviet domination. But Zimerman no doubt had more recent events on his mind. The U.S. has said it will base interceptor missiles in Poland as part of its controversial missile defense plan. And in recent years, the CIA is believed to have operated one of its “black site” secret prisons in Poland.

Apparently, the Obama election will not instantly rehabilitate the U.S. “A lot of people think that when they choose the next president, suddenly everything will be forgotten,” Zimerman said last year. “I think that when the damage is done, first you have to undo the damage.” You don’t have to accept all his criticisms to recognize that he speaks for many around the world. (from LA Times)

Whether it is appropriate to make political statement to the audience in the concert depends on your view. However, Zimerman’s statement certainly brings up people’s attention to this matter.

You also can read more updates at Jessica Duchen’s classical music blog.

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