Poland's Krystian Zimerman, widely regarded as one of the finest pianists in the world, created a furor Sunday night in his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall when he announced this would be his last performance in America because of the nation's military policies overseas.
Before playing the final work on his recital, Karol Szymanowski’s "Variations on a Polish Folk Theme," Zimerman sat silently at the piano for a moment, almost began to play, but then turned to the audience. In a quiet but angry voice that did not project well, he indicated that he could no longer play in a country whose military wants to control the whole world.
Mr. Zimerman, you don't speak German because our military liberated your country in World War II.
Mr. Zimerman, you don't speak Russian because the U.S. faced down the U.S.S.R. with military might and freed Eastern Europe.
Mr. Zimerman, the U.S. doesn't want to control the whole world. If it did, it would have happened a long time ago.
Mr. Zimerman, good riddance.
And, I hope the folks who did not walk out of the concert follow you all the way home.