Opinion: music cannot fix world’s problems, but listening can promote better understanding

Posted on: December 14, 2015

“Early in the fall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gustavo Dudamel ended his cycle of Beethoven symphonies with a Ninth of tremendous intensity meant to remind players and listeners of the priorities of citizenship,” writes Mark Swed in Sunday’s (12/13) Los Angeles Times. “The orchestra included members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. This has not been an encouraging year for diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Venezuela…. Dudamel’s Ninth in Disney Hall didn’t fix Venezuela’s economy or resolve the diplomatic impasse between our two countries. Still, such commitment and care by the combined orchestras demonstrated an uncommon effort toward common purpose, an assertion we are all in this together.… Obviously, making music cannot halt terrorism, heal the environment or solve the world’s other great problems. But in its insistence on cooperation from its practitioners and demand for mindfulness from its listeners, music can help open dialogue. From the practice of listening can come a little understanding, then concern and maybe even a ping of compassion. Finally we may be ready for a discussion as a meaningful first step in actually doing something.”

Posted December 14, 2015