Zimerman begs the question: Where is the place for performer activism?

Krystian Zimerman, pianist
It only happened Sunday night, but the press is already in a tizzy.  Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman took a quiet stand before his Disney Hall performance, announcing that his debut in that space may also be his last performance there:  he is boycotting US performances due to his frustration with our country’s military actions overseas.  An estimated 30 to 40 people walked out of the concert soon thereafter, some with loud comments to fling at the stage before departure.  But for the most part, the audience reaction was rather mild.Whether or not anyone agrees with his opinions, Zimerman has caused a furor about the appropriateness of politics in music.  Just as George Clooney and the Dixie Chicks and many, many other actors and pop musicians have taken heat (and praise) for using their fame to draw attention to political issues, Zimerman’s stand has already created more buzz in the classical world than any political issue has seen in some time. Following is a short list of links to current media articles:  there are certain to be more as the week wears on.  We’ve also started a discussion topic in the Forums, for those who would like to examine this issue in more detail.

Originally published in The Links #141, 4/27/2009

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