Pianist Igor Levit, outspoken on and offstage, wins $300K Gilmore Artist Award

Posted on: January 3, 2018

“On Wednesday, Jan. 3, pianist Igor Levit’s potent mixture of powerful art and political candor was given a major boost: the $300,000 Gilmore Artist Award,” writes Michael Cooper in Wednesday’s (1/3) New York Times. “He has stood out by emerging as the de facto pianist of the resistance, with politics that do not merely flavor his outspoken Twitter feed but inform his musical identity. On a recent Sony Classical recording, he boldly brought together three sets of variations: Bach’s ‘Goldbergs,’ Beethoven’s ‘Diabellis’ and Frederic Rzewski’s on a song beloved of the Chilean left, ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated!’ …  Mr. Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia…. His family moved to Germany when he was 8…. His politics [were] shaped in part by the experience of being a Jewish immigrant in a Germany with a newly ascendant right flank…. He said that he was still making plans for what to do with the Gilmore prize money. But Mr. Levit also fantasizes about the kind of academic fellowship that would give him time to study, reflect—and interact…. ‘The idea that art is an excuse for not engaging,’ he said, ‘is utterly ridiculous.’ ”

Posted January 3, 2018