Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Krystian Zimerman's Pro-Peace Speech
The world famous Polish pianist, Krystian Zimerman, last Sunday informed a California audience that he would no longer perform in the US.
"Get your hands off my country," Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing. A few dozen walked out, some of them shouting obscenities.
"Yes," Zimerman responded with derision, "some people when they hear the word military start marching."
When I initially saw this story, the Guardian's subheading read "anti-US rant." Probably after complaints, it has now changed it to "anti-US tirade," but has not acknowledged the change.
A nice principled, virtuoso stand from Zimerman against the Bush "missle defence" shield (now being implemented by Obama), but the writer of the Guardian article linked above clearly is not pleased and focuses on the audience's storming out of Disney Hall. He calls Zimerman's "ranting" personal: "Shortly after 9/11, his piano was confiscated by customs officials at New York's JFK airport, who thought the glue smelled funny. They subsequently destroyed the instrument." A trademark of Zimerman's tours is his own piano, which he takes to every concert venue.