Krystian Zimerman quits concert, slams YouTube

The pianist stormed out of a recital in Germany after noticing an audience member recording the performance.

Krystian Zimerman

Krystian Zimerman walked out of his own concert at the Ruhr Piano Festival in Essen after he spotted an audience member recording his performance on phone. The Polish virtuoso broke off mid-recital to ask the concert-goer to stop filming, but left the stage when he continued to record.

Zimerman explained he had lost work after unauthorised performances were posted on YouTube: "Record companies would say, ‘Sorry. But this is already on YouTube'", he said. "The destruction of music through YouTube is enormous."

After returning to the stage, the pianist played to the end of his programme which included music by Debussy, Brahms and Szymanowski, but refused to perform an encore despite loud cheering from the audience.

Essen's Philharmonic Hall has a strict ban on making sound and video recordings during concerts. Festival director Franz Ohnesorg described the filming as an act of theft.

Was Krystian Zimerman right to walk out of the concert? Should audiences be allowed to film classical concerts at all? Is YouTube spoiling classical music, like Zimerman says? Have your say in the comments section below.

Krystian Zimerman - Video

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