Beáta, Izolda, Lea

National Philharmonic Choir state support for chief Kocsis against racism claims

2011.03.08. 16:20


The artists, staff and the unions of Hungary's National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir on Monday stated their full support behind their chief music director, Zoltan Kocsis, amid recent allegations of racism.

The artists released a statement in response to "attacks that have been targeting conductor Kocsis in the recent past." "We, the artists and staff of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir and Scores Archives have been shocked seeing press reports and comments that have cast the shadow of racism and anti-Semitism over our chief music director in the wake of an interview he gave," said the statement.

In an interview to the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung on February 15, Kocsis defended the Hungarian government and said that Hungary was a country where nobody had any reason for fear. He also responded to a question concerning a petition acclaimed Hungarian artists and intellectuals had submitted to Brussels, protesting against "prevailing racism targeting the Roma, homophobia and anti-Semitism in Hungary." "I have 11 musicians of Jewish and another 11 of Roma origin working in my orchestra. Until someone tells me that I should dismiss them I don't believe such things (...) The government is not composed of devils. (...) It is an entirely democratic government," Kocsis told the paper. Kocsis afterwards faced attacks at home and abroad with press reports labelling him of being racist.

In their Monday statement the National Philharmonic said that everybody's origin, religion and race were fully respected in the orchestra and they condemn the "campaign that has been slowly turning into a war" against Kocsis.