Scandal in Cologne: Of Pianists and Prejudices


Exceptionally I will point you to a text from two foreign sources. It has to with music and the lack of tolerance in Europe. And I rate it a first class scandal: The audience at the Philharmonie Köln (Germany) forced the British-Iranian artist Mahan Esfahani to cancel after four minutes his performance of a piece written in 1967 by Steve Reich: Piano Phase. Part of audience considered the piece too boring, to modern or both and started yelling, laughing and whistling. The fact that the pianist had introduced the piece in English compelled someone from the audience to shout: “Speak German!”

Considering the fact that right-wing slogans are gaining track in Europe, and in the light of repeated acts of violence against refugees from the Middle East, this is a noteworthy event and considerably more serious than anything Donald Trump is telling the world at the moment. It is an echo of the discrimination that artists faced a little less than 100 years ago during the rise of National-Socialism. Being outcast and silenced because one dares deviate from what the audience expects – I though that was part of the past. I hope it is not part of the future.

I recommend the piece in the German weekly “Die Zeit”, and thanks to fellow blogger Scribe Doll, we also have a link to a piece from the “Independent”. This time I do not say: Enjoy. My wish would rather be: Think!

© Charles Thibo

Piece in German: Philharmonie Köln: H-Moll, du liebe Güte!

Piece in English: Iranian musician forced to stop Cologne concert

Published by

de Chareli

Writer, photographer, piano student, music enthusiast. And a lot more. You are welcome to follow my blog.

5 thoughts on “Scandal in Cologne: Of Pianists and Prejudices”

  1. Yes, rather sad. Asking an Iranian musician to please speak German? And showing so little respect for the musician’s performance is just unacceptable.

    I really like his album Time Present and Time Past album by the way, and really don’t get why anybody could be offended by Reich (although I’m personally not a big fan of most of 20th century music).

Comments are closed.