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Just in: Gidon Kremer cancels six weeks, blaming the music business

February 19, 2015 by norman lebrecht

50 comments.


The great violinist has sent a letter to friends (below), saying he’s taking six weeks rest on medical advice.

Most artists would leave it at that. But Gidon sees a moral precept in all that he does. Hit by the unexpected tour withdrawal of Daniil Trifonov, a pianist he esteems, he faced demands from promoters that he hire a famous pianist rather than a talented young partner. Gidon proposed the most recent Chopin winner. The promoters had never heard of her. So he gave up in despair.

This is the second time that Gidon has exposed the music business’s ugly dependency on phoney notions of celebrity, its preference for established fame over artistic brilliance. His is a voice in the wilderness. We need to listen to Gidon before it’s too late.

 

kremer

Dear Friends,

Recent activity has left me feeling bereft of energy and somewhat frustrated. I have been dealing with the emotional strain of attempting to remedy the situation caused by the cancellation of a number of important concerts to be given by Kremerata Baltica in Germany. This was the result of the decision by Daniil Trifonov (the soloist on Kremerata’s February European tour) to withdraw – after six wonderful performances and for valid reasons – from the rest of this exciting concert tour. It would have taken him and the orchestra (a unique partnership) on to Geneva, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. The great young pianist is undoubtedly one of the most sensitive and genuine musicians with whom I have been privileged to share the stage. I therefore fully respect his decision but have been left feeling ill at ease about the promoters’ response to my proposed solutions to the problem.

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I was particularly disturbed by the promoters’ focus on one “big name” only and the reluctance to consider others who would have treated the music with equal respect and professionalism. Not one of the substitutes I proposed was accepted. The Chopin competition winner and mature artist Yulianna Avdeeva was fortunately available on the required dates and would have been happy to play the two Chopin concertos originally planned, meaning that the programme, which also included works by Weinberg, Gorecki and Penderecki, would not have to be changed. She was wholeheartedly recommended not just by myself, but also by pianists of world-class calibre such as Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman and Daniil Trifonov himself. In fact, Daniil Trifonov was the one who approached me personally about finding a replacement. All these efforts sadly fell foul of marketing strategies.

 

avdeeva_yuliana

All this gave me cause to reflect and to come to some personal conclusions. The concert series with Kremerata Baltica and Daniil Trifonov followed hot on the heels of our challenging and inspiring chamber music tour with him in the USA. As I observed – and thoroughly enjoyed – the depth of the immersion in the music by Kremerata musicians and Daniil Trifonov in preparation for the European concerts that were planned, I became increasingly aware of the limits of my own energy. This triggered the need to take action.

I have therefore decided to follow the advice of my personal physician, who has been cautioning me against over-exertion for years, and to cancel all my engagements – between now and 25 March 2015. I am aware of the uneasy consequences that this might entail for all parties involved, but I must follow my inner voice and seek peace (and health) of mind and body. It is nonetheless my firm intention to honour all previously confirmed concert dates after this short period without my usual activities.

I do hope that most of you will understand something of how I feel and my need for some “space”. I would like to express my appreciation of all friends, colleagues and promoters affected by my cancellations. I am particularly grateful to Julia Nees of June Artists, our manager, for her efforts and understanding. My special thanks also go to the members of Kremerata Baltica, an ensemble with which I have had the pleasure of playing and touring for over 18 years. I do hope that during my temporary withdrawal, solutions can be found to enable Kremerata Baltica’s concerts to continue as planned.

I consider myself a professional and a man of his word. It always hurts me to break my commitments and I sincerely apologise for doing so. Music born under pressure and tension cannot, however, serve great scores. Pretending to be focused while being over-tired is an act of deception. I consider it my duty to deliver sincere sounds – and thus to give a true reflection of the creations of wonderful composers. I would feel a “traitor” if I were to act otherwise. By taking this self-imposed step of restraint, I hope to fully absorb the lesson that schedules often imposed by managerial institutions should not tempt performing artists (including myself) to do more and more. We are often our own worst enemies in that respect and need to learn to tame our insatiable desire to be everywhere at once. We should never allow anyone to make us “tools” of the industry or to become victims of our own ambitions.

The limelight in which some of the “rising stars” seem to bask can all too easily turn against them – as often happens on the pop music scene. I simply want to remind myself and all those who share my aspirations and love for music, those with whom I have spent happy decades sharing the values of music-making on world stages, to be prudent with their energy. The recent incidents should serve as a warning to my friends and colleagues not to overdo it.

Ultimately, we should be able to live with music as a “friend”, one which allows us – as we share sounds and honour their creators – to enjoy all aspects of life. I hope to pursue that goal for many more years yet.

With best regards,

Gidon Kremer

gidon kremer


Comments (50)

  1. Eric Mendelson says:

    I respect Kremer’s actions and applaud his decision. For great artists, musical integrity always trumps marketing demands.

  2. Doug says:

    HEAR! HEAR!

    Norman, I have only one beef with your opening report: “Gidon has exposed the music business’s ugly dependency on phoney notions of celebrity, its preference for established fame over artistic brilliance.”

    I don’t believe he would use the word “brilliance” but more likely depth. Brilliance is exactly what the money bags running the “industry” want.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      Good point.

    2. anon says:

      Well said, Doug. I’m sure the promoters would have preferred Kremer et al recommend the “brilliant” and flashy Yuja Wang. To ignore the recommendation of Zimerman, Argerich, Kremer and turn down Avdeeva, whom Argerich voted 1st place at the Chopin Competition along with Trifonov, is an insult to those older wiser musicians who try maintain some integrity in the music world.

    3. Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

      This invasion of purely economic prerogatives revealed in the complete dismissal of any valid alternative suggestions (replacing Trifonov with Avdeeva) is a most worrying tale. I only hope that Gidon Kremer’s decision, which I admire and respect, will at least send a signal strong enough to trigger a wake up call among all self respecting artists everywhere. That said, I am certainly aware that there are many who lack world wide fame (but not lack depth!) who depend on earning their living, and are thus forced to submit to whatever agencies or promoters demand of them.

  3. Halldor says:

    Don’t question his decision – wish more eminent musicians were quite so aware of their own limits – but simply observe that had the concerts made a loss, Kremer and his musicians would still have been paid in full, while the promoters would have had to carry the financial burden. It’s rarely quite as simple as ‘idealistic artist vs money-grubbing middlemen’.

    1. Concert listener says:

      Good point, also considering that the rest of the program was Weinberg, Gorecki and Penderecki. Not exactly a blockbuster, and the promoters by now knew how ticket presales went as well. Argerich, Zimerman and Trifonov do not have to pay for the losses if the sales fail to meet expectations, the promoters have to.
      Highest respect for Gidon Kremer, but the devil’s advocate also needs to be heard. There is always another side to a story.

      Which halls were they supposed to play in Berlin and Munich? Big hall Philharmonie and Gasteig?

    2. John Borstlap says:

      That’s why classical music concerts should be supported by the state or / and city, to ensure that there is no total dependency upon ticket sales. Classical music is not a business but an art form. If performers are forced to exclusively stick to the small commercial repertoire, the art form is dead.

  4. Svend Brown says:

    I was with him to ”schedules often imposed by managerial institutions’. Is he seriously expecting us to believe that he, Gidon Kremer, is somehow the victim of his manager or maybe concert hall directors? Kremer who willfully changes programmes at short notice and cheerfully disregards the capacity to draw an audience as a factor in programme creation? And I assume he is talking on behalf of the many many wonderful young artists who would give their eye teeth for a manager because they know how much difference that would make, they know that a hard working manager or a committed concert hall director makes a world of difference to the musicians’ capacity to focus on what she/he should be doing, i.e. Music, first and foremost, and then earning a living enough to continue doing it. Shame on him and any music lover who tries to demonise management through some ill focused belief that they are supporting the true cause of music: why do you think these others are working so damn hard too?

    1. YWL says:

      Shut up. Kremer initially wanted to keep it going. And the manager wanted no one other than the likes of Lang Lang or Yuja Wang. I’m Chinese myself so don’t play the racist card btw. You sick, money grabbing pigs.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        There is a great variety in music managers, it’s pointless to generalize. The business / money factor plays a role, everybody has to pay his / her bills, but a good manager knows how to balance artistic integrity with practical concerns. Concert halls are not there to exclusively please the performers. A concert is a combination of different factors which all hang together, and all parties are part of the process: performers, audiences, management, hall staff, promotors. But when financial considerations take priority, of course the ‘product’ itself will be suffering. There are performers who seem to ‘do’ music for the sake of getting the highest fees possible (Norman has written eloquently about that), as there are managers who operate in music life with the sole aim to get money out of situations, which is equally bad. These people (including performers) should be spotted and exposed, because they ruin the art form for other people. There are even ‘managers’ who lure in young performers, desperate to find an impresario, to help them to get performances but they have to pay for the service, and after 2 years the youngsters are mercilessly dropped without any result, but the ‘management’ has earned its money. It’s not illegal, but it is entirely a gangster mentality.

  5. Keyboardmaven says:

    It’s those presenters’ loss that they didn’t accept Juliana Avdeeva as Trifonov’s replacement. Those of us present at the last Warsaw Chopin International Competition had the opportunity to hear Trifonov & Avdeeva perform back-to-back: Trifonov was certainly talented, but he was no match for Avdeeva’s musical maturity and sincerity.

    1. Ross says:

      I find that nearly impossible to believe.
      I am very familiar with both of them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just the idea that the promoters won’t accept the artist’s own recommendation for substitution. . . Do you or do you not trust the artist? You’d think in working with an artist there would be some level of trust here, but no, as people point out, “money” needs to be considered. Thus proving Kremer’s point.

    What good are “promoters” if they can’t even promote the Chopin Competition winner?

    1. Concert listener says:

      Easy. Nobody would stop Kremer and Kremerata to promote their own concerts, if they feel the tickle to do risky business. Being a promoter must be a very ungrateful job. If the house is full it’s because the artists are great. If the house is not full, you are a lousy promoter.

      Honestly, nobody is questioning Avdeeva’s artistic quality. It’s about her current market appeal only. Let’s be real. Such is the reality of the music business. You want to make money with giving concerts, you sell yourself.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I am really having trouble accepting that promoters believe what some of these Trifonov fans—and I too, counting myself among them—are proclaiming, i.e., that there “is No Substitute” for him. Are German audiences really so picky? Are there really THAT many people who won’t accept the most recent Chopin Competition winner instead of the most recent Tchaikovsky Winner? (Oh sure, I would return my tickets if I were suddenly faced with Avdeeva instead of Trifonov, but I consider myself a finicky piano snob. I returned tickets this past summer when faced with Igor Levit instead of Maurizio Pollini too!) Are there so many Trifonov “true believers” that they are looking at substantial losses if they replace him?

        There must be something else going on here. Avdeeva is young and female with good recommendations and a gold prize from one of the most prestigious and still respected competitions. And some careers are “made” in doing last minute substitutions.

        So is it an agency issue, as some above claim?

  7. Daniel Farber says:

    The late, barely-remembered American satirist-comedian, Fred Allen, once said, “You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood and put it in a flea’s navel and still have enough for three caraway seeds and an agent’s heart.” I am sure that the readers of this blog, at least those who are sympathetic with the story Gidon Kremer tells, can connect the dots.

    1. Daniel Farber says:

      I meant to say “enough ROOM for….” My bad.

  8. MacroV says:

    It’s true that Kremer’s band gets paid no matter how many tickets the promoter sells, but presumably a lot of those tickets were already sold before Trifonov withdrew. On one hand that means the promoters didn’t necessarily risk a big box-office debacle with a substitute, but on the other they might be wary of accusations of bait-and-switch.

    That said, Gidon Kremer, in his various performing guises, is a brand. People generally know – and presenters surely must understand – that when they go to hear him perform, his ensemble will include amazingly talented (usually up-and-coming) musicians they have never heard of, and has put together a thoughtfully developed, wonderfully prepared, and stunningly executed program. And if he has a soloist with as big a reputation as Daniel Trifonov, that person has been brought into the concept, and isn’t just a commodity placed into the “sell more tickets” slot. So Kremer can be trusted – by promoters and audiences alike – that a substitute will be fit in with equal thought and preparation. In a word: “I’m Gidon Kremer, trust me.” And if his programs don’t make great box office, I assume his fees are probably a little lower than Lang Lang’s as a consequence.

    As a music lover and fan of the music business, I find it incredibly frustrating how touring orchestras often present very uninteresting and unadventurous programs when they go on tour, always, I am told, because of presenter demands. And usually with soloists (and concertos) that bear no particular relation to the orchestra and what makes it matter or worth going to hear. The Czech Philharmonic, which plays really interesting programs here in Prague, more often than not has to tour with the New World Symphony. Russian orchestras always seem to have to play one of the last 3 Tchaikovsky symphonies; deny Gergiev what we do with his Putin support, but he’s been able to break that rule and show off his orchestra in a much more interesting range of music.

  9. Russian Music lover says:

    I very much appreciate Gidon Kremers nobility, his sincerity and his wonderful music-making, but he seems to me absolutely quixotic and naive in his reactions. I myself had bought tickets for the cancelled concert in Hamburg. I have bought tickets to hear Daniil Trifonov, in the moment the most sought after pianist in the world, in his interpretation of the two Chopin-Concertos. And all my friends who bought tickets had the same intention. (and I am absolutely shure that 90 % of the audience has bought tickets only in behalf of Trifonov!). We all would have given back our tickets. I would not have accepted to be confronted with Ms Avdeeva instead of him. She may be a very fine artist but not in the class of Trifonov, who has a much higher standing in the classical market AND in the opinion of critics and connaisseurs. (Don´t forget the enthusiastic words Argerich has said about Trifonov!) If right or not: I am shure that the presenter would have had to refund a tremendous number of tickets and suffered a big loss of money. Maybe that Mr Kremer doesn´t care about such things. So I find it correct and honest of a presenter to cancel the concert and to search an alternate date with the Kremerata and Trifononov, as it was indicated to us. If Mr Kremer doesn´t understand that and falls into a kind of depression, it only shows an extreme ignorance of other opinions and undeniable facts.

    1. MacroV says:

      This raises another angle: My understanding was that Trifonov was to be the soloist in one Chopin concerto in a program of mixed works. In which case Kremer’s frustration with promoters being difficult about finding a substitute is understandable, and IMHO listeners interested only in Trifonov are kind of missing the point.

      But if the entire program is Trifonov playing the two Chopin concertos, then really the tour isn’t a Kremerata show – it’s a Trifonov show with Kremerata serving as a curious sort of backup band (and as Gidon Kremer isn’t known to me as a conductor, I start to wonder about his role except as being on the marquee). In this case without Trifonov, the point of the tour really comes into question.

      1. Russian Music lover says:

        MACROV has pointed out the crucial point: The concert-tour was really what you call “Trifonov-Show” and I fear that Gidon didn´t realize that. I don´t know why. I fear that he lives on another planet. Trifonov has in Germany (I can´t check it in other countries) reached a superstar-status and is considered as a real genius, a pianist arriving in musical life perhaps all 20 or 30 years. Not a media-star like perhaps Lang Lang but a very very exceptional artist beyond comparision. So all the halls are packed with audience, when Trifonov is announced. Avdeevas victory in the Chopin-Competion – to mention it aside – was very controversial. She is absolutely no match for Trifonov. So people bought tickets to hear Trifonov. The Kremerata (which is excellent) was secondary for the audience. It could have been every other first rate Chamber-Orchestra. This, I understand, is hard to accept and to learn for Kremer, but it is the truth. The program were BOTH Chopin-Concertos, each of them introduced by a short piece of Gorecki and Weinberger. The tickets may have been sold. But for Trifonov and not for Ardeeva. So most tickets would have been given back to the promoter and it would have been a disaster for the promoters (and Ardeeva!). It is hard to understand why Kremer doesn´t realize that. I think, he is only personally offended by the fact, that promoters with good reasons did not accept his proposal. I hope that the concert with Trifonov, as it was pointed out by the Hamburg promoter, is only postponed. And I hope also that Kremer doesn´t try to block it by reasons of jealousy!

  10. Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Once again, Gideon Kremer an artist of integrity on the podium and in life.
    Thank you Mr. Lebrecht for publishing this sad story.

    1. Concert listener says:

      I disagree. He would show integrity, if he would connect his fee to the ticket sales. Expecting a full fee, playing unpopular (certainly great music) repertoire (beyond the Chopin), and expecting others to shoulder the economical risk, is not integrity. That’s vanity in my book.

      But now let’s wish him serenity and relaxation from the stressful experiences.

  11. Nutters says:

    Replying to anonymous “do you or do you not trust an artist” – not always no. Not saying this is the case here.. artists too have agendas.

    I sympathise with Kremer and wish the music world didn’t have to think about the money. But also sympathise with the the promoter who will possibly be a looser here which makes everyone a looser.

    Svend Brown I’m with you all the way

  12. Dylana Jenson says:

    I would be more then happy to play more than once or twice a year…call me anytime.

    1. Greg from SF says:

      And I would be more than happy to hear your beautiful playing more than once or twice a year!
      If it can be worked out, howzabout coming to San Francisco every so often, Dylana?

    2. Gail Starr says:

      please come play in Atlanta, Dylana!

  13. Carina Rascher says:

    The problem is about 100 years old, it’s been that way since Columbia + Co. dictated what was to be played. Remember the book, “Who Killed Classical Music?” Those who stick to their musical integrity are likely to make enemies.

    1. Anon says:

      That’s a bit unfair. Nobody is stopping Gidon Kremer to stick to his integrity. But he can’t expect a promoter to fill a hall with a magic wand. The promoter has to sell the tickets.

      Would Kremer have agreed to shoulder the potential losses at the box office here? I don’t know but I doubt it. If he had done it, then respect. If not, then he shouldn’t shout “foul”.

  14. Roland Freisitzer says:

    I would like to point out that Gidon Kremer is himself a “big name” and Yulianna Avdeeva not an unknown leaf in the business. I assume that nobody in the audience would have minded the change of soloist, so the denial was most surely propelled by other motives. Motives more related to the agency. I will assume now (haven’t checked) that Trifonov and Avdeeva are not signed up at the same agency. I would imagine the promoter having a contract with Trifonov’s agency and therefore, only a substitute from that agency will do.

    In principle, that’s even worse, because it is not even based on artistic mistrust, just plain business. Agencies rule the business, having split up all the concerts and cycles between each other (maybe not officially of course). So an orchestra in need of urgent replacement for a great programme will rather be forced to take a conducting changing almost all of the programme (but from the right agency) instead of a (maybe even better) conductor agreeing to jump in and keeping the complete programme as it is (if from the wrong agency).

    Saying all that doesn’t change the fact that there is something catastrophically wrong with the sphere we’re presumably all working in…

    1. Anon says:

      I wouldn’t say it is catastrophically wrong, but certainly the role of the agencies is a problem for the art form.

      Agents have too many incentives to steer the business against artistic interests. So we have for instance “chief conductor” contracts these days, where the “chief” is 6 weeks in the house of 52 years of a year… That’s actually a catastrophe, you are right.

      Why? Because agents make more money from the jet set musician than from the resident artist.

    2. John Borstlap says:

      As long as classical music concerts are not entirely paid for by the state, they are left to a free market economy with all the challenges and problems of capitalism. If classical music is fully subsidized by the state, the state takes control with civil servants making value judgements, with desastrous results. Best seems to be: funding by three parties: a) the state ensures basic existence of halls, orchestras, opera houses, b) corporate and private sponsoring, and c) ticket sales. If these sources are handled in a balanced way, too bad effects can be avoided and that is how most musical institutions in Europe are run. Sometimes it goes wrong (Montpellier), but often enough it works well.

  15. John Borstlap says:

    These are very valuable points. Orchestral tours however, are so expensive and vulnerable to financial mishaps, that if at least one factor can be handled on the ‘safe’ side, agents will do that. It is not recommendable but understandable.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      This was a reaction to Macrov’s remark above.

  16. Paul Ricchi says:

    Kremer’s polite screed about the music business and its favoring celebrity over depth comments on something that afflicts all categories of music. It afflicts opera, prolonging some careers beyond their shelf life and the over-reliance on a small portion of the catalogue of masterpieces. It is most apparent in mass market music which is ruled by celebrity without merit and merit without celebrity.

    This is what happens when we judge an artist, artisan, performer or trick pony by how many like them and not who likes them ! Public relations over pedagogy and dedication.

    Ultimately the collective audience gets what it deserves.

  17. Paul Ricchi says:

    Art and politics may have worked for state-employed Mozart and the patronized Wagner, but then it was the aristocracy in the game.

    The thought of art being reliant on the whims of the short-fingered demagogues who walk the corridors of government power chills me.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      So, should we go back to the type of patronage as it was practiced before 1800 in Europe?

      However odd it may sound, but there is much to be said for. Then an elite of cultured and wealthy people would be needed. If the modern educational system would give much more attention to the meaning and the importance (for society as a whole) of culture, it would be not entirely impossible that successful industrialists, bankers, etc. ect, would invest their surplusses in something like classical music. In fact, that occasionally happens in the USA. But it is not a structural situation. 18C nobility used music as an asset to underline their glamour and social importance, which meant that music had to serve the commissioning party. There were good reasons for composers and musicians to break out of this servitude but they never found the existential security that had been offered to them under the ancien régime. You cannot have it both ways.

    2. Concert listener says:

      You prefer the long-fingered variant that walks the corridors of big business? I don’t.

  18. Concert listener says:

    Was there ever a time, where the majority of the concert going audiences did NOT prioritize superficial celebrity status and “I went to see XXX” over artistic depth?

    I’m seriously wondering?

  19. Carlo says:

    I think that everybody is forgetting about one element. Tours, concerts and all the rests are essentially a matter of buy/sell between agencies and promoters. The discussion is not among artists. Logics behing refusals on Kremer’s suggesions are much more likely connected to agreements between agencies and matters of pricing. I don’t know who’s representing Trifonov and who’s representing Avdeeva, which economical agreements are connected with these two (and the other three Kremer is mentioning).
    There are a lot of inter-companies elements that are present in the music business as well as in any other business. As somebody else pointed out before, tickets were already sold and program was not changing; moreover in the opinion of the audiences saying Trifonov or saying Avdeeva is basically the same (they aren’t unknown performers, but they are not the “legend” as it may be any askhenazy/brendel/argerich/pollini – which will call a certain kind of audicence – or the “young superstar” like lang/wang/etc – which will call another kind of audience). Possibly Kremer, from his own position, may be seeing everything in terms of art, but if you have to get the balance working it will be just a matter of money and industrial agreements.

    1. Anon says:

      Disagree that Trifonov is not in the “young superstar” club. The NYPhil does not do 2-week, all-Rachmaninoff residencies with no-name, untested entities.

  20. Russian Music lover says:

    MACROV points out the crucial point. The concert was indeed what he calls a “Trifonov-Show”! I think that Gidon didn´t realize that. I don´t know why, or is he meanwhile living on another planet? Trifonov has reached in Germany (I don´t know if it is the same in other countries) a real super-star-status and is considered as a real genius, an artist so profound as we only see him all 20 or 30 years. And he is not a marketing built phenomenon as perhaps Lang Lang (but this might be unfair) but a very very exciting and extraordinary, a unique artist. Avdeeva is no match for him. Her victory in the Chopin-Competition – to mention it aside – was very controversial! So people bought tickets to hear TRIFONOV (and not anyone else) playing BOTH Chopin-Concertos. They were introduced by short pieces by Gorecki and Weinberger. So the part of the excellent Kremerata was in fact secondary, or to say it better: It was not the “selling-point”. I understand, that this is hard to learn for Mr. Kremer, but it is the truth. The tickets may have been sold, but a huge amount of tickets would have been given back to the promoters. A disaster for the promoter (and humilating for Ardeeva!). So we all were happy to hear, that the Hamburg concert is only postponed to a later date. I think that Mr. Kremer was only offended by the fact, that the promoters with good reasons, didn´t accept his proposal of Avdeeva as substitute. And I hope that he is not so narrow-minded to block his (excellent!) Kremerata by reasons of pure jealousy!

  21. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    Obviously a concert tour with the Chopin concerti featuring a recent winner of the Chopin Competition would be a total flop.

  22. Andrew says:

    I believe this is an audience problem. As said above, promoters must deal with the economic realities posed by audiences who insist upon an artist with name recognition. It appears that today’s audience is so risk-averse that it would rather have a refund and stay home than take a chance on a lesser known, yet highly gifted artist with the right references.

    This is the state of affairs that we all must deal with – not just the promoters and other artists like Gidon Kremer but also the audience members. Today’s concert-going public contains large numbers of people who fall asleep and snore, loudly open candy wrappers, talk, and audibly rifle through programs in search of things that they could easily read on the Internet at home — even when sublime music is being presented right in front of them.

    If concertgoers went to concerts to listen with open ears, an open mind, and an awareness of spontaneity, they would probably learn that some of the greatest music making and listening experiences occur when the unexpected happens. We are talking about art after all.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if the promoters would promote artists based on artistic quality and not on marketability in the first place (i.e., the Lisiecki, Lang Lang problem), audiences would show a little trust. But when you read the hype about many young performers then you hear them . . . .

    Honestly, “great music making” is not a given these days!

  24. avi says:

    They lost me as soon as the name of Zimerman was raised. Speaking about the ills of the industry, think about how much we lose when Zimerman shares so little with us.

  25. Marek van den Born says:

    I understand the personal decision of Gidon Kremer.
    But also I am of course curious to hear what will be the consequences of this to the concert next friday in Brussels with Kremerata Baltica and Martha Argerich.
    Very much hoping that she will still come to play, I especially booked a trip to Brussels to see and hear her and all the other musicians perform.
    Waiting for what the Bozar in Brussels will announce over the next few days..

  26. Dave T says:

    Is it not just a little ironic that Gidon Kremer, in his whining about having to be stuck with a “big name” sub, hauls out “big name” artists like Argerich and Zimerman to defend his choice of an unknown pianist?

    In further irony, does he really expect that the Kremerata Baltica will be able to schedule concerts, as he so states, without HIS OWN “big name” presence? Does he have no responsibility towards them and the income that they will probably forgo due to his petulance?

  27. Tiny says:

    Actually, only one or two comments here got the point: The concert consists of the two piano concertos by Chopin, with Kremerata as the “backup band”. Surely, the piano soloist is the deciding factor in buying a ticket to such a concert. So replacing a bona fide magnet with a controversial competition winner isn’t such a trifle as Kremer makes it sound.


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