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WATCH: Russian/British/Jewish Pianist Evgeny Kissin on Finally Getting His Israeli Passport

By Logan Young l.young@classicalite.com on Dec 13, 2013 06:03 PM EST

Russian/British/Jewish pianist Evgeny Kissin issued the following quite emotional appeal--in Russian/English/Hebrew--for his fellow professionals' solidarity with his newest country.

Kissin will be joining an equally talented batch of Israeli classical artists, many of them very much of today's generation, restlessly innovative and looking for ways to reach new audiences. Among this latter group are the likes of pianist and conductor David Greilsammer (signed to Sony, just founded the Geneva Chamber Orchestra), fellow conductor Ilan Volkov (whose "Tectonics" events bring cutting-edge music to big audiences) and mandolin player Avi Avital (with that new album blending classical and world music). Plus pianist Inon Barnatan, mezzo Rinat Shaham, soprano Chen Reiss (actually there's a bit of a bumper batch of fine Israeli sopranos just now), conductors like Dan Ettinger, Omer Wellber and Lahav Shani...

Here's one of Kissin's most fiery of quotes...in English:

"I am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state--and since long ago I have felt that Israel, although I do not live there, is the only state in the world with which I can fully identify myself, whose case, problems, tragedies and very destiny I perceive to be mine. If I, as a human being and artist represent anything in the world, it is my Jewish people, and therefore Israel is the only state on our planet which I want to represent with my art and all my public activities, no matter where I live. When Israel's enemies try to disrupt concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Jerusalem Quartet, I want them to come and make troubles at my concerts, too: Because Israel's case is my case, Israel's enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared of the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish State beyond its borders. I have always deeply despised chauvinism and have never regarded my people to be superior to other peoples; I feel truly blessed that my profession is probably the most international one in the world, that I play music created by great composers of different countries, that I travel all over the world and share my beloved music with people of different countries and nationalities--but I want all the people who appreciate my art to know that I am a Jew, that I belong to the People of Israel. That's why now I feel a natural desire to travel around the world with an Israeli passport."

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TagsEvgeny Kissin, Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Israel, David Greilsammer, Avi Avital, Pinchas Zukerman, Mischa Maisky, Dan Ettinger, Inon Barnatan, Omer Wellber, Chen Reiss, Rinat Shaham

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