#rp23 keynote speaker Igor Levit: Between music and activism.

21.03.2023 - The celebrated pianist is politically active – and will be at re:publica 23!
Igor Levit steht in schwarzem Hemd vor einem schwarzen Hintergrund.
Photo Credit
Felix Broede

Igor Levit is considered one of the best pianists in the world – and was one of the first to break the stagnation enforced by the Corona pandemic: During the first lockdown in spring 2020, he streamed a series of a total of 53 "house concerts" on Twitter and Instagram, mostly live from his Berlin flat. Away from the constraints of the music business and marketing, this was a new experience of freedom for him. For this sign of hope and public spirit in times of isolation and despair, as well as for his commitment against anti-Semitism, Igor was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in autumn 2020.

The 36-year-old sees himself not only as a citizen, a European and a pianist – but also as a musician with a stance. In an interview in 2019, Igor Levit said he did not want to be "just the man who plays the keys". He regularly speaks out on current issues, plays concerts for refugees and returned his Classical Music Echo in 2018 in protest against anti-Semitism and xenophobia. For his political commitment, Igor Levit was awarded the 5th International Beethoven Prize in 2019. In January 2020, he was awarded the "Statue B" of the International Auschwitz Committee on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Igor Levit received his first piano lessons at the age of three. His first orchestra concert followed at the age of six. As Jewish contingent refugees, the family was able to move to Germany in 1995. Since then, Igor Levit has made an international career as a pianist and received numerous awards as one of the most important artists of his generation. Since 2019, he has been teaching as a professor of piano at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media.

In the book "Hauskonzert" (House Concert), published in 2021, the "Pianist of Resistance" recounts his experiences from the 2019/20 concert season, a time of extremes – it is the year in which Levit publicly takes sides against hatred on the net and receives death threats for it. The year he plays house concerts for hundreds of thousands on Twitter. And the year in which he finds himself - as an artist and as a human being. In June 2022, his album "On DSCH" received both the "Recording of the Year" award and the "Instrumental Award" from BBC Music Magazine. At Opus Klassik 2022, Danger Dan gave the laudatory speech for the prize-winner Igor Levit. At the end of last year, "IGOR LEVIT – NO FEAR", an inspiring documentary film, was released, portraying the artist on his course between a traditional career and new paths in the world of classical music, the impulse of political commitment and the constant artistic challenge.

We are very happy that Igor Levit will be at #rp23 this year!