Homeless in Berlin: Neighbours force US concert pianist out of his home

Homeless in Berlin: Neighbours force US concert pianist out of his home


norman lebrecht

November 10, 2016

The pianist Soheil Nasseri has been given 13 days to leave his apartment after noise complaints from neighbours.

He has a recital coming up next week in the Philharmonie. Can anyone offer him accommodation?

Please help.

Soheil says:

I will still be playing my solo concert next Wednesday in the Berlin Philharmonie, even if I am homeless! How can anyone be expected to move out within 13 days?

Here’s a translated report from Bild:

Soheil Nasseri has been ordered to vacate his apartment due to piano playing.

Photo caption:
Pianist Soheil Nasseri (37) has played in Carnegie Hall and performs next week a solo recital in the Berlin Philharmonie (Gershwin, Schubert, Beethoven). He has trouble at home.

Prenzlauer Berg – Some pay money to hear Soheil Nasseri (37) play the piano. But to his neighbour, classical music is just noise.

Schönhauser Allee, the Kulturbrauerei corner. Soheil Nasseri lives off the second courtyard, in a 700-Euro-per-month 850 square foot apartment. The American pianist is a star who performs time and again in the Philharmonie. He moved to Berlin in 2007. Mr. Nasseri says “Berlin is the cultural capital of the world. Berliners love classical music.”

Apparently not his neighbor, though…

She complained about the piano playing and the landlord GWD reacted by sending Mr. Nasseri a notice of eviction – for “repeated disturbance of the peace via your multi-hour music making.”

The complaining neighbor asked to remain anonymous but told us “I work at home. I do feel sorry for him but a piano is unacceptable!”

Mr. Nasseri can’t believe it, but doesn’t want to leave: “My neighbors all have my cell number and I ask regularly if I am disturbing them.” He insulated the walls with thick curtains and the floor with a heavy rug. “And 93% of the time I practice in a church. I only practice occasionally at home.”

Other neighbors are on his side. Martina Keyser (59): “Many neighbors are loud – in contrast, Mr. Nasseri is very considerate. He keeps the windows shut when he plays!”

The landlord GWD declined to comment to BILD on the matter. Mr. Nasseri is supposed to turn in his keys today or eviction looms.




  • me! says:

    if he wants to practice he should rent a commercial space that is made for practicing; or he should live in the country with no close neighbors. He sounds inconsiderate, no one should have to listen to intrusive noise regularly in their homes

  • Simon S. says:

    I have serious doubts on whether this is the whole story. As every German landlord will confirm, German law makes evictions rather difficult. They certainly do not happen with a 13 days notice. If this part of the story is true, there must have been legal antecedents of many months if not years.

    And Bild has a long track record of biased stories, omission of key facts etc.

    All the best for Soheil anyway!

  • John Malkovich says:

    Cheap way to get more audience to his recital…

    • Joel Lazar says:

      A serious pianist whom I’ve heard solo and in concerti in the US. He needs no cheap publicity. And I cannot imagine that he is other than respectful of the legalities of his situation.

  • RW2013 says:

    700€ for 260 sq m in Prenzlberg?

    • Scott Fields says:

      Should be 2500, right? The rent is fishy. The short-notice eviction is fishy. The grounds for eviction is fishy. The paper must have been used to wrap fish.

      • Joel Lazar says:

        Interestingly the last time I saw him in the US, maybe 2 years back, he was commenting on what a good deal he had in terms of housing.

    • Scott Fields says:

      Your math is wrong, and I didn’t catch it. The size is closer to 80 square meters, making the rent believable.

  • Rich Patina says:

    I don’t know any of the particulars regarding this story, but I do know (from personal experience) this: the worst noise in the world is your neighbor’s noise.

  • Paul says:

    “My neighbors listen to the best classical music … if they want to or not” 🙂

  • wolter says:

    He can afford an apartment. I assume just doesn’t want the hassle of house hunting.

  • osc says:

    I am one of Mr. Nasseri’s neighbours. I can say that he is a great professional that practises between 5 to 8 hours per day (sundays included). He sacrifies his eating time at midday to keep working hard on his piano… Unfortunately, a small flat in an old building is not a proper place to play such a big instrument daily.