Just in: Berlin maestro opens concert to Syrian refugees

Just in: Berlin maestro opens concert to Syrian refugees


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2015

Ivan Fischer has launched his new Konzerthaus season in Berlin with a special welcome to Syrian refugees whom he brought to the hall for their first concert. He criticised his own country, Hungary, for its anti-refugee policies.

Watch Ivan’s opening address, warmly received, by clicking here.


photo: Felix Broede


  • Rosana Martins says:

    Ivan Fischer behaves and speaks like a great man. I hope some of his collegues will follow the example. The world shouldn’t admit the present inhuman circumstances.

  • Olassus says:

    Viktor Orbán made several good points. Not sure why Iván Fischer feels the need to complain about Hungary.

    • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

      You are correct. Yet the situation is much more dire. All EU rules and regulations are obsolete now. The EU, and the West as a whole, failed to respond to the crisis in Syria for years. Mr. Orban may have a point, but things have gone far beyond. It remains to be seen whether the EU as such steps up to the plate. I hope is does. Otherwise, this crisis will be the beginning of the end of the EU as we know it. In addition: I am glad to know that many Hungarians step up in support of the refugees where their government has so embarrassingly failed. One can hide behind rules no longer, and the people of Hungary understand that well. Mr. Orban apparently does not. As several of his colleagues in Eastern Europe do not, either. Again: the refugee crisis is the opportunity for the EU to grow. If not, it will fall apart. To the shame and peril of all of Europe.

  • Nick says:

    As one watching from afar in a region which had its own massive refugee crisis with millions of boat people following the fall of Saigon and the U.S. illegal bombing of Cambodia, the warmth of the welcome being given to refugees in Germany is a wonderfully powerful symbol.

    This present massive refugee crisis for the EU must be solved quickly and all efforts directed to that end. Yet, as solutions are found, deeply serious questions have to be addressed by a host of political parties and their leaders. The refugee crisis has been on the horizon for years – not weeks – and most of Europe’s elected to sit back and do viirtually nothing about it.

    Then the root cause of the crisis has to be addressed and those responsible called to account. Would ISIS be in existence if the West had joined forces with the Syrian Rebels? Would the war in Syria have happened without an unstable Iraq? Would the entire region, no matter how repressive some of its regimes, still be a relatively stable part of the world had not Bush, Blair and their cronies not only decided to take Saddam out but then to make an utter disaster of their attempts to bring democracy into the blighted country?

    In the devastating wars in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, countless millions died largely as a result of pure ignorance and utterly flawed assumptions on behalf of the western powers. The same surely is the case in the Middle East. When will our governments learn that there are never simple answers and that the entire historical narrative of a country and a region must be thoroughly analyzed and understood before any thought of hostile action is entertained?

    • kublai says:

      Hear, hear!

    • V.Lind says:

      Very well said indeed. and the biggest offender when it comes to misreading other countries is the US, where someone once said wars were useful for teaching Americans geography — whenever I go there, I am stunned by the oblivion to any aspect of international life I find in highly-placed individuals.

      It will be inexplicable to me as long as i live why Tony Blair hitched his relatively successful wagon to Bush in such a totally misguided enterprise. Unlike bush, Blair would have had access to real intelligence regarding the Middle East — a knowledge of history and the like that is overlooked in the US intelligence centres as effete eastern elitism. Britain has Arabists, and people who can conceive of the difference between Saddam’s brand of brutality and the rage-based, phoney pietism that fuels the likes of AQ.

      But between them, they caused this. Or were MAJOR contributors.

  • Doug says:

    Why does Fischer live in Berlin and not Budapest? Does he love “mother Merkel” like the Syrian so-called “refugees” more than his native land?

  • Milka says:

    Fischer goes where the buck is,as for his bogus little speech it is which way the wind blows.
    Germany is on a guilt trip and these refugees are milking it for all it is worth .

    • kublai says:

      Another contender for the “Grand Prix” for the lowest comment on Slipped Disc. Unbelievable…

    • Dominique says:

      “Fischer goes where the buck is”. Do you know any musician who doesn’t? 🙂

    • Michael says:

      Milka, I should be wiser than to allow myself to be “trolled” by a cynical bigot like yourself, but you’ve crossed so many lines – character assassination, historical revisionism, hypocrisy and moral callousness – in one pathetic post, I can’t help but rise to the bait. Ivan Fischer is a man and artist of integrity. To suggest otherwise merely demonstrates the bliss of your own belligerent ignorance. Meanwhile, many Germans are responding to a humanitarian crisis of epochal proportions with compassion. Are the reasons (of which there are as many as there are individuals willing to offer help)relevant when lives are at stake? You may view the world through bitter, cynical lenses, but you are no more righteous for it. And I for one am glad people like Maestro Fischer and many others across Europe and around the world are able to demonstrate in words and deeds that we as humans have alternatives to your jaded brand of prejudice and bile.

    • DCB says:

      Everyone just ignore this idiot. I believe he finally got removed from violinist.com for coming out with such bile.

  • kublai says:

    Viktor Orban is a deeply authoritarian, not to say proto-fascist, and thoroughly demagogic politician under whose regime intolerance, antisemitism and xenophobia blossoms. Small wonder that the overwhelming majority of the brilliant Hungarian intellectuals and artists have left Hungary and announced that they will not return to their homecountry. Noble Prize winner Imre Kertesz rightly compared Orban with the pied piper of Hamelin and lamented the culture of hatred omnipresent in today’s Hungary. And you can hear similar statements from Agnes Heller, András Schiff, György Dalos, Béla Tarr, Ivan Fischer, György Konrad, Adam Fischer, Peter Esterhazy, to name but a few great minds.

    • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

      Well stated. Thank you. I wonder why the EU has not sanctioned the Orban regime. There are plenty of legal reasons, but thus far nothing has been done accept the issuing of statements expressing dismay.

  • Milka says:

    It all depends on whose ox is being gored doesn’t it Mr. Lebrecht .