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Igor Levitt: Wings, Tweets, and Eminem

Igor Levitt: Wings, Tweets, and Eminem

Anyone who has followed the sometimes heated discussions on the German feature pages about Levites will not find much in this book. Countless articles and photos have appeared since the 32-year-old was celebrated in 2010 as “one of the great pianists of this century” (“FAZ” music critic Eleanor Puning) – a turning point and a burden for Levitt, as you read now.

At that time, Büning gave the still unknown “fat child” the ability to recount great pieces of music in a way that reflects life anew, “so that we can easily understand everything with our ears and hearts.” In fact, the Levite did the prophecy.

Today he’s the inspiration for his record-breaking releases that go far beyond classicism, filling in big houses and he’s now a professor at Hanover. In 2020, he was awarded the Order of Federal Merit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for his daily home concerts at the start of the pandemic, which he was broadcasting from the living room with his cell phone camera.

Twitter activity and escort German rap

“House Concert” is now also the name of a résumé in which Zinnecker tries to approach Levit with short paragraphs, relaxed writing style, and quick jumps that wander between times. Of course, this also includes the issue of the relationship between politics and playing the piano (quite organically, so Levitt’s answer).

Felix Broyd

Zeinker journalist accompanied Levitt in the 2019/2020 season and brought the many conversations into book form

Contrary to what is usual in the industry, Levitt interferes extensively with political rhetoric and is sometimes subjected to heavy criticism for it. In 2015 he wrote on Twitter that members of the AfD are “people who have lost their human existence”. And death threats followed, despite attempts at clarification.


The digital book premiere of “Igor Levits” and “Concert” by Florian Zinker will take place on April 20 at 7:00 pm on Instagram Live, hanserliteratur.

Levitt sometimes gives political speeches before concerts. Just last week, he accompanied the German rap song “All This Included in the Freedom of Art”, in which Danger Dan is currently making a buzz, with Jan Böhmermann on the piano. The song is called “Declaration of War on New Rights.”

No memory for school and Russia

The focus of “House Concert” is of course on the musical and Levit’s free and comforting explanations and how he developed his style and approach. There are also thoughts about his experiences during the pandemic: Zinnecker originally planned to accompany Levit during the 2019/2020 party season before everything turned out differently.

The basic structure of the book is minute events. Zinnecker and Levit describe recordings, talks, or performances, such as the 16-hour piano marathon with Eric Satie’s “Noise”, which drew attention to the condition of cultural workers in May 2020. From there it goes back to the autobiography, sometimes very fragmented, simply put Because the artist lacks the ability to remember: “I have no memory whatsoever about Russia, in fact nothing at all. Zero. Unfortunately,” he was quoted as saying.

Book cover

Hanser Publishing House

Igor Levitt, Florian Zenneker: A Home Concert. Hanser Verlag, 299 pages, 24.70 euros.

The pianist, who came to Germany as a Jewish refugee with his family from Gorky at the age of eight, doesn’t really remember his school days either. In order to capture the not-so-easy phases of the resume, mom and other voices complete the narration.

Expelled from early intervention

The gifted child, who was initially taught at home, was expelled from the first early intervention as he was unable to cope. Even later, with his teachers at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and in Hanover, the road was rocky: the strict school of educational authority Karl-Heinz Kämmerling is important to the basic work, but at the same time a stumbling block for the young pianist, who had long since stopped caring wants to keep an ammunition Joint.

Levitt is dazzled by the expansion and finds it with Max Rieger, Richard Wagner, Ronald Stephenson “Pasakalia” and above all with Ludwig Van Beethoven. For teens, rapper Eminem, who listens to him “nonstop,” is a role model: “Eminem caught me at the specific point in which I realized: I want to be able to say, ‘I am.'”

Existential fears and anti-Semitic nuances

With great openness, “House Concert” tells of the existential fears that plagued Levit during the pandemic, and of the sometimes stressful loneliness of wandering through life and starting a career as a “obstacle course”. Equipped with “mega talent,” as they are called, well-known classic brands reject them at first because they are deemed difficult to market. “Weirdo”, very political-minded, keeps making jokes, and this does not fit the program.

Then there are the anti-Semitic nuances that hit the artist hard. In the fall of 2020, an article in “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (“SZ”) accusing Levit of only faking emotional excitement with his expressive style of play led to a major debate on the front pages. Some are reminded of Richard Wagner’s anti-Semitic essay “Judaism in Music” from 1850, in which Wagner deprived Jewish artists of the ability to create themselves.

Bring music closer to people

The book refutes the accusation that Levitt designed the character of a politically active pianist on several occasions, and instead paints the image of someone who cannot and does not want to do anything but raise his voice.

Additionally, Levitt is described as an uncomplicated worker who cares about paranoia projects and works to the point of exhaustion. He likes to do without beautiful hotel rooms or special sound conditions if the most important thing is that he can bring his music closer to people.

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