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What is the role of an artist in the sphere of public life and in debates on social issues? Is an artist ever “just” an artist?

Writer Assaf Gavron (The Hilltop), violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Sir András Schiff are all outspoken critics of social injustices in their birth countries. They discuss the responsibility of the politically-informed and engaged artist to speak out against prejudice, persecution and other social injustices, ranging from Russia to the current rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the many different views on the state of Israel. The discussion will be moderated by Hanna Arie-Gaifman, director of 92Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts.


Can't make it to the event? Leave your questions for our guests below, and they might be used on stage during the Q&A. Keep an eye on 92Y On Demand after the event for any video clips we might share! You might see your question used on stage.



Assaf Gavron is acclaimed as a writer, novelist, translator and musician. His fifth novel, The Hilltop, received the Israeli Bernstein Prize and was named by NPR as one of the ten best books of 2014. His other writings have received such international honors as Germany’s “Buch Fur Die Stadt” Award, France’s Courrier International Prix and the Netherlands’ Wizo Prize. He has translated more than 20 books into Hebrew, including Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint and Salinger’s Nine Stories, and he was the chief writer of the video game Peacemaker. Mr. Gavron is also the singer and main songwriter of the cult pop group The Foot and Mouth, which has released five albums. His website is

Gidon Kremer ranks among the world’s leading violinists and leads Kremerata Baltica, an ensemble of young players from the Baltic nations that he founded as a way to nurture and inspire musical life in the region. Mr. Kremer has championed the works of contemporary composers. He last appeared with Kremerata Baltica at 92Y in February 2013 in a program that included Shostakovich’s anti-Stalinist farce, Antiformalist Rayok. In October 2014 Mr. Kremer presented a concert in Berlin with Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim and Nobel literature laureate Herta Müller, titled “To Russia With Love,” to support Russian oppositionists who have been jailed or suppressed by the Putin regime.

Sir András Schiff is world-renowned as a pianist, conductor, pedagogue and lecturer. His latest project is a recital series, The Last Sonatas, comprised of the final three sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. This season he is curating “Sir András Schiff Selects: Young Pianists”—a series for 92Y at SubCulture that introduces rising young pianists. Sir András, who was awarded a Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in June, attracted attention in the spring of 2001 because of his opposition to the alarming political development in Hungary, and in view of the ensuing attacks on him from some Hungarian Nationalists he decided not to perform again in his home country.

Director of the 92Y Tisch Center for the Arts since 2000, Hanna Arie-Gaifman oversees 92Y’s acclaimed concert series and Unterberg Poetry Center. Before joining 92Y, Ms. Arie-Gaifman helped to recreate Prague’s cultural life in the post-Communist era and reinvigorate Czech Jewish culture as dean of the Mozart Academy in Prague, director of artistic planning and international relations of the Czech Philharmonic and director of Prague’s annual Musica Judaica Festival. Ms. Arie-Gaifman has also taught at University of California, Berkeley and New York University.

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