German pianist Igor Levit dedicates award to victims of far-right terror


Classical pianist Igor Levit dedicated an award he received in Berlin on Sunday to the victims of a right-wing terrorist attack in the city of Halle.

"After the NSU, after countless attacks on mosques, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, refugee homes, et cetera, what has happened is no surprise," Levit said upon receiving the Opus Klassik awarded for instrumentalist of the year, handed out by Germany's ZDF broadcaster.

The National Socialist Underground (NSU) was a far-right terrorist cell that murdered nine people with ethnic minority backgrounds and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Germany, which has noted a spike in anti-Semitism and xenophobic sentiment in recent years, particularly since the 2015 refugee crisis, is reeling from the latest extremist attack after a gunman unsuccessfully tried to storm a synagogue on Wednesday. He killed two people during his rampage.

"I dedicate this award to those who have for years fought silently or vocally against right-wing extremism, against anti-Semitism, against Islamophobia and against anti-feminism," Levit said.

The artist paid tribute to the 40-year-old woman and the 20-year-old man who were shot dead by the Halle attacker and dedicated his award to them.

The Russian-born German musician, who has caused a stir in the classical music scene in the past for speaking out about U.S. President Donald Trump, was awarded for his album "Life".

A few hours before the awards ceremony in Berlin, Levit attended and performed at a major demonstration in the German capital against anti-Semitism and right-wing terrorism.    (dpa)

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