In which classical music dies yet again

Pianist Krystian Zimerman reportedly left a performance last week because someone was filming him on their smartphone. Long-time Life’s a Pitch readers (hi Mom) may remember that I was there the day Patti LuPone stopped a performance of Gypsy just after she began “Rose’s Turn” because someone was taking pictures. The audience applauded; I was appalled.

Zimerman had every right to stop a solo recital. I would argue that LuPone did not have the right to stop a musical, because she was playing a character and had several off-stage opportunities to ask someone to have the photographer removed from the theater.

Zimerman may, however, have overstated the point here:

On returning, he told the audience that he had lost many recording projects and contracts because music managers had told him: “We’re sorry, that has already been on YouTube.” “The destruction of music because of YouTube is enormous,” he added

There are a lot of pianists on YouTube, it’s true: playing a diverse repertoire, often filmed without their permission:


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  1. Ariel says

    Mr. Zimerman must unfortunately deal with dim wits who find nothing wrong with his being upset by
    being filmed in concert on a smart phone .The stupids that find this acceptable will always be with us .
    They of course drag out comments such as, ” free expression ” to behave like bores -it seems the last
    thing they are acquainted with are good manners and respect for the artist at work and to remember
    they are at a concert. Mr. Zimerman on the other hand should not have addressed the audience .

  2. says

    That video is hilarious! It is unfortunately a tricky and frustrating issue, this free-for-all with recording media. my husband is a singer and has been involved in a few CDs. Going through all that is involved in making a good product really changes your ideas about getting free music. We all have to treat each other fairly, but I have yet to hear a really good system for enforcing the respect and protection of such property.

  3. Alison Ames says

    Having known and worked with Krystian Zimerman some years ago, I doubt the quoted comment (which I’ve seen before), especially because I’ve never seen a mention of the source, i.e. the first place it was printed. He’s absolutely right to object to unauthorized recordings (video and/or audio) of his public performances, in my opinion.

    By the way, one should be reminded that Zimerman also announced, many years ago, that he would never again perform in the USA. And I last heard him in this country (at Carnegie Hall) quite a while after the alleged announcement. I greatly regret not having heard him in a long time — a magnificent musician!

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