How a fiddler got onto an Italian hospital roof

How a fiddler got onto an Italian hospital roof


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2020

We described earlier how violinist Lena Yokoyama, a Warner Classics artist, played an ode from the roof of Cremona’s Coronavirus hospital. She has been criticised by a number of viewers for jeopardising safety – her own and the security of the hospital.

Lena has issued this explanation (translated from Japanese):

It seems that there are people who are worried about the whole thing, so I’m going to answer the questions I’ve seen before. I wore a mask properly except during the performance. The Mask was removed after other staff (minimal number of people) went away.

I was making a promotional video to raise money for the hospital around Cremona. It’s safe outdoors. Playing with a red dress was a request from the hospital. Red is a symbol of love and passion.

I used only sterilized, unmanned corridors while moving inside the hospital.

It seems that all the coronavirus infections were in the outdoor temporary hospital. I was in the hospital for about 2 hours, in which time only two ambulances arrived.

I had a direct request from the University of Cremona and played only for the hospital and patients. I used a speaker to deliver the sound from the roof to the ground. After playing, I left without meeting people who listened to it below.



  • akiko says:

    Gorgeous, and a great reposte to her critics – keep playing, please, and continue to take care with your own safety x

    • David says:

      Exactly, she played for people and gave them some joy. That there are people that can’t experience joy and assume that she somehow accessed the roof of a hospital during the biggest healthcare emergency of the last 50 years and played without the support of hospital administration is just a bunch of buzz-kill.

    • Takahiro says:

      Yes. It’s beauty.


  • Larry D says:

    Thanks, Norman, for this elaboration, which hopefully has shamed haters like “Anon” and “Anonymous” into silence. But I suspect that shame is something they reserve for other people, never themselves.

  • Katharine says:

    Hauntingly beautiful. Thank you.

  • Anya says:

    Exquisite. Thank you for this beautiful and haunting performance. We needed this.