Harpsichord maker runs for anti-immigrant party

Harpsichord maker runs for anti-immigrant party


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2016

One tends to think of early-instrument craftsmen as organic lefties who live on the vegan side of the political spectrum.

Not in Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic), where one of the country’s leading harpsichord makers is running for the Senate on the ticket of a kick-out-all-immigrants-and-Roma party.

Here’s the man, Petr Sefl.


This is his company. And this is his party, Dawn of Direct Democracy, linked to the German far-right.


The Czech harpsichord community is outraged.


  • Robert Holmén says:

    Czechia… They should have gone with Bohemia.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    The Czech republic is home to a very reputable fortepiano maker who happens to be a Texas native: Paul McNulty. http://www.fortepiano.eu/
    This amusing coincidence could be the stuff of a future opera.

  • Oskar says:

    It still is “the Czech Republic”, Czechia was just one of many stupid variants and will hopefully never take over.
    Are you sure there is such a thing as a “Czech harpsichord community” ? Aren’t we any more allowed to say “Gypsies” instead of “Roma” people ? The guy on the picture looks like a native of Texas 🙂

    • Mahan Esfahani says:

      Actually there is a significant community of Czech harpsichordists both at home and abroad and Prague and Brno are home to several well known harpsichord exponents.

      • Oskar says:

        True, I know – rather a silly remark from my part, refering to the phrase and the fact that we are not really numerous in population and keep ourselves to ourselves.

      • Dirk Fischer says:

        Dear Mahan,

        You surely know Petr very well, what is your take on this?


    • Paul Davis says:

      But “Czech Republic” is not only cumboresome and ugly, it’s an unnecessary political definition of a beautiful country; i don’t say for instance: “I live in the French Republic” altho that’s precisely what it is, a correct description. “Czechia” is strange at first but not too bad for international recognition, a fair compromise. At the time of Slovak separation my Czech friends bandied about with Czechomoravia in several variants as an attempt to inclusivity but with little success; Czechia may be here to stay.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    Strictly speaking and paradoxically Hitler was on the veganist side of the political spectrum too.

  • Rich Patina says:

    It appears that this is an effort to shame him on the part of NL. Why? How are his political views germane to a classical music website? How could his views have the slightest thing to do with his instruments or the music made on them? How do you know that the majority of readers on this site feel the same way you do? Perhaps it is just the opposite.

    As always, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

  • ketzel says:

    I don’t know the political views of our host, as I’m a new reader, but I appreciate the occasional political topics and lack of censorship. Culture has always been related to politics. I’ve never heard of this harpsichord maker, but I share his point of view on immigration, at least the current immigration crisis in Europe. Some of the new immigrants are more likely to chop up his harpsichords with a machete than listen to the music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      If one of the thousands of war refugees – people who fled for their lives, it should be noted – would cut his harpsichords in pieces with a machete, he would desevre it.

      You simply fall into the trap of easy generalization….. if one crank goes bananas, that has nothing to do with the 5000 others who don’t cultivate such drives.

      • Milka says:

        What a deplorable statement -to justify the destruction via machete anothers livlihood.
        Let us hope Mr. Borstlap is never found deserving of the same treatment.

  • Tom Moore says:

    the name for the country can’t be Bohemia – Bohemia is a subsection – the other subsection is Moravia. It could be Bohemia and Moravia. Czechia is not any worse or different than Hungary (=Hungaria, Ungria, etc. )

    • Robert Holmén says:

      Small Bohemia is a modern map thing. In past times, the rulers of Bohemia also ruled Moravia and Silesia and the whole thing was referred to as “Bohemia.”

  • Neil van der Linden says: