Krystian Zimerman stops concert in protest at being filmed

Pianist halted performance when he spotted an audience member recording on their phone

Krystian Zimerman
Published: June 5, 2013 at 10:41 am

Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman stopped playing during a concert in Germany on Monday (3 June) when he noticed a member of the audience recording on his mobile phone.


Zimerman turned to the person and said ‘Would you please stop that?’ before leaving the stage. When he returned he explained that he had previously lost recording contracts because managers had said ‘Sorry, that has already been on YouTube.’

‘The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous,’ he went on to say.

Zimerman performed the rest of the advertised programme – which was part of the Ruhr Piano Festival in Essen, Germany – but chose not to give an encore and pulled out of the post-concert reception.

‘What happened is theft, pure and simple,’ said festival director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg. ‘It cuts particularly deeply when the artist is of a sensitive nature.’

A spokesperson for the festival told The Daily Telegraph ‘He [the audience member] was filming, I believe on an iPhone, and was in the middle of a block of seats so it was not possible to remove him during the performance.

‘It’s not possible to search our audience members for recording equipment, as if we were an airport. It’s not possible and not a nice thing to do.’


Zimerman was playing a programme of music by Debussy, Brahms and Szymanowski.

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