Kremer’s conscience

26th July 2011 | Concerts, Inspirations, Musings | 2 comments

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.’


  1. Roger Roser

    I think I’ll just slump in a chair and listen to Radu Lupu playing ‘Kreisleriana’ – I know this will make me forget that music is a marketable ‘product’ just like any other.

    Signed – Ozzie the Ostrich with head in sand

  2. peter

    Some years agao I saw Kremer conduct a symphonic concert, in Copenhagen. At the end of the performance, he did not turn round to face the audience or acknowledge our applause. He stood still for a very long time, facing the orchestra, before finally raising his arms to call on the orchestra to stand and leave the stage. He then walked offstage still without looking at the audience. He did not return, despite our continued applause. I was appalled by his lack of good manners, and by the arrogance that this behaviour revealed. I have since made certain not to ever see him perform again.


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