The Guardian: Why pianist Krystian Zimerman was right to speak out
Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman's political speech during his debut recital at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles shocked his Californian audience. He told the Americans to "Get your hands off my country", before he played Polish composer Karol Szymanowski's Variations on a Polish Theme
When I met Zimerman last year to interview him for Music Matters, I asked him if he really thought this kind of protest was the best way of making a point. His answer was that he couldn't in good conscience play to an audience in a country whose political leaders he disagreed with, without making some kind of stand. Zimerman isn't naïve enough to think that his way of speaking out is going to change US policy in Eastern Europe. But he feels his music making can only speak to listeners who understand where he's coming from.