Violinist Gidon Kremer listens to a question during a news conference before his Jubilee concert with the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra in Riga, February 9, 2006. (Photo : REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LATVIA))
Gidon Kremer is teaming up with Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim for an anti-Putin concert in Berlin.
The Latvian violinist is presenting a concert to support the Russian oppositionists who have been jailed or suppressed by Vladimir Putin's administration. The concert is scheduled for Oct. 7, entitled "To Russia With Love," and will feature Russian works and a new composition, "Angel of Sorrow," by Georgian-born composer Giya Kancheli in tribute to the imprisoned Russian philanthropist Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The concert will also celebrate the anniversary of the death of Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot and killed in 2006 after criticizing Putin's presidency.
During an interview with Snob, Kremer said: "Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky sought only to use his wealth as a tool to improve society. But Russia's regime simply labeled such efforts as unjustified and a crime; as a result he has spent the last eight years in prison. As artists, it's our duty to raise our voices in a chorus of opposition to drown out those who seek to humiliate and punish men like Khodorkovsky."
The violinst also had the chance to attack Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and Russian conductor Valery Gergiev for supporting Putin. He stated, "I don't want to point the finger, but it always upsets me to see talented colleagues more interested in self-promotion than in their art form - becoming state delegates rather than artists. I'm highly suspicious of patriotism that identifies itself with the government. An artist, in my opinion, and historically, should be independent."
Netrebko and Gergiev have been heavily criticized in the last few days with an LGBT petition attempting to have them fired from opening night at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Kremer added that he was not protesting, but making a statement for freedom in general. He said, "In contrast to composers, our artistic activity as musicians is limited to our lifetime. Is it not our civic duty to respond to the conflicts of our time? I'm not prepared to mount the barricades, my place is on the stage. But one must act with the weapon one has been given."
Kremer recently published his book "Birefe an eine junge Pianistin" and released his new album " Hommage à Piazzolla: The Complete Astor Piazzolla Recordings."