Symphony honors the legacy of journalist
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 01:10
The Miami University Symphony Orchestra is preparing for an incredibly meaningful concert Wednesday. Performing two of the greatest classical compositions ever created, the orchestra will make music with Bruce Murray, the Music Department chair and the concert’s soloist, for a worthy cause. The concert is part of the 2013 Daniel Pearl World Music Days series in which artists from across the globe seek to dispel hatred and violence through the unity of music. The concert will also serve as a way to express the talent and dedication of the Miami University Music Department, the only one of its kind in the nation to have two orchestras as finalists in the American Prize for Classical Music awards. Through the themes of unity, tolerance and acceptance, the music of the Symphony Orchestra will spread a message to audiences that not even words can fully convey.
The 12th Daniel Pearl World Music Days Concert celebrates the life of Daniel Pearl, who, despite not being a professional musician, spread his love of life through music.
Pearl was a journalist who was brutally murdered by terrorists while on an assignment in Pakistan in 2002. The concert series was created through a foundation created by his family to both honor him and to promote the humanitarian goal of an end to war, violence and terrorism. Its Honorary Committee includes famous artists such as Sir Elton John, Matisyahu, R.E.M, Barbra Streisand and more.
Pearl sought to use music as a way of understanding and leadership and even after his death his goals live on. The concert series consists of over 10,000 performers from 129 countries around the world and lasts for the entirety of October. The Miami University Symphony Orchestra’s performance will be taking place on the eve of the birth of Daniel Pearl.
Distinguished Miami University Alumnus and Director of the Global Rhythms concert series Srinivas Krishnan made a goal of stopping by an orchestra rehearsal to listen to the ensemble as they prepared for the upcoming event.
“I look for every opportunity to work with the orchestra,” Krishnan said. “Through this music, they enhanced a composer’s esteemed vision and will especially set new standards to enhance the quality of learning.”
He went on to praise the immense talent and attention to detail put forth by the entire orchestra to ensure the concert’s success. As a connoisseur of world music, Krishnan recognized the importance of such a momentous occasion. He highlighted the values of tolerance, unity and understanding as ways to embrace other cultures in order to bring the world together in peace. The concert series employs a type of “musical dialogue” that communicates this message of world peace, which, according to Krishnan, is indicative of Pearl himself.
“I believe that a true hero is one who faces adversity and finishes off his or her task with courage, irrespective of the outcome, and Daniel Pearl is just that,” Krishnan said. “He was a musician who recognized how music could serve as a spider web that connected people from across the globe and educating such a broad cross-section of people in this way can truly bring out the best in them.”
The Symphonic Orchestra will be performing two selections for the upcoming concert: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, more commonly known as “Emperor.” Both pieces are incredibly complicated, from their dynamics to the emotions they evoke, and require a great deal of skill and dedication to play. Ricardo Averbach, Director of the Symphony Orchestra, made sure to express his desire to showcase the incredible musicianship displayed by the students in the largest Miami Symphony Orchestra to date. He talked about the importance of playing well with powerful dynamics, yet advocated for minimal involvement on his part on stage. He emphasized the value of conducting rehearsals to learn notes, but he doesn’t want the audience to see the director as a type of actor on stage, “waving his arms and dancing like a movie star” to provide musical cues. He said he believes a talented orchestra is focused enough to create musical dialogue without much direction during a performance.
“As the students learn these passages, they sometimes worry about musicality and playing the right notes, but that’s not all there is to it,” Averbach said. “The music is powerful and emotional and the orchestra will be the most talented when they are making music together in that moment.”
The featured selections fit quite nicely with the theme of the concert series, as they were both created with great symbolic and emotional meaning. Written around 1809, Beethoven’s “Emperor,” for example, was created to represent his triumph over the depression that was his fate of deafness. As a man who made his living through music, Beethoven became deeply depressed when he learned of his destiny, yet he chose to seize these emotions and use them to heroically go against fate and create a movement with lasting creative effects, just like Daniel Pearl’s legacy. Pearl’s death at the hands of terrorism created a global response that developed into a tradition of acceptance, love and honor of which Miami University will be a part.