Kent Nagano on music’s unique power to offer hope and comfort in difficult times

Posted on: March 31, 2020

“In these most uncertain times, I wish to address myself to the deep community of Montreal and Quebec, so dear to my heart,” writes Kent Nagano, music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, in Friday’s (3/27) Montreal Gazette (Canada). “Throughout history, we have seen how constant and faithful a companion music is.… This music, which we share as a community, reveals something even more exceptional, a unique power. Namely, music allows us to overcome fear and rise above the usual limits of tolerance. It gives us the ability to connect to a singular time, to that ‘moment’ when one experiences the ‘here and now’ simultaneously with memory and hope. These elements merge to offer us a pathway toward the future. This ‘moment’ is what makes music so different from any other aesthetic or form of communication…. Today, as we face a pandemic and great uncertainties, when we ask people to remain isolated indoors and to avoid social contact except for particular needs, music can become a refuge and offer some hope and comfort…. We can hear and experience the now, the memory and the future—all of which combine to offer the perspective of eternal hope.”

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra is presenting free rebroadcasts of archived MSO performances at its website.