Violinist Gidon Kremer has, I hope, set the cat among the pigeons with his decision to pull out of the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. His letter of explanation is long and somewhat rambling, but perhaps he did not have the time to make it shorter. In any case, his exasperation with today’s music world is clear, and many people will agree with him. I hope his outburst will start a constructive debate. Here’s an extract from his letter to the director of the festival:
‘I simply do not want to breathe the air which is filled by sensationalism and distorted values. Let’s admit – all of us have something to do with the poisonous development of our music world, in which “stars” count more than creativity, ratings more than genuine talent, numbers more than sounds.…I simply do not have enough energy to support gatherings and collaborations on highly exposed stages with “rising” or approved stars of today’s music business for the sake of ovations and name-dropping.
…A time has now come in which the overall devaluation of the word “interpreter” has resulted in a misguided fixation with glamour and sex appeal….This is not anymore “my” time. I leave it to those who believe in it, be it the audiences or the new breed of performers, who have overwhelming capacities to please crowds, but who are often themselves quite EMPTY and artistically lost, chasing a hunger for recognition over ability.’