Monday, July 2, 2012

Wake Forest University, China, and the GIFT OF MUSIC

Early last fall WFU music professor and classical pianist, Peter Kairoff, came to visit me in the office of the Byrum Welcome Center.  He, along with the Chair of the Music Department, Stew Carter, came to say thanks for helping to recruit the wonderful Chinese students who were choosing to minor in music at Wake Forest University.  Peter asked what they could do to help in recruiting more of these talented students.   As we talked we three began to dream--"what if we offered a musical concert in China."   "Could we possibly be able to offer a musical concert that would attract our students, potential students, and their families and friends?" We continued to think of the possibilities.  Sitting there, we also talked of the difficulty of logistical planning for such a huge event, how hard it would be to produce materials in bilingual format, the challenge of organizing a performance from so far away.  But the more we talked, the more we were beginning to consider this as a possibility--despite the great challenges.  "Could we even think of such a possibility?"  I asked.  And Drs. Carter and Kairoff said, "Yes, by all means, let us consider this."  And the spark was lit!

This idea was right.  Time has shown it to be true.  While we could have planned other events, such as an athletic showcase, debate tournament, executive education, or even a symposia on current issues,  none seem as fitting as this one---to offer the gift of music.  A liberal arts institution that promotes not only the quest for academic excellence but also a love for beauty, Wake Forest's inaugural visit to China will feature beautiful classical music--and lots of it.  Professor Kairoff will perform selections from J.S. Bach as well as American composers for a delightful evening of piano music played on a beautiful Steinway generously provided by John Patton and the Steinway Company in Shanghai in the lovely performance hall of Dulwich College, Shanghai, Pudong, with hospitality provided by Fraser White and the Dulwich College management team.  On Sunday afternoon, Peter will lead a master class, which will feature his own WFU music students who are home in China for the summer and will join him on stage to help illustrate current practices in piano pedagogy.

Music, this lovely gift for the senses, with capacity to lift us to a place of civility and compassion, to calm our fractured lives, and to create a space for clarity and focus of mind, will be our gift to our new friends in China.  A spark has been lit!   

Onward we go.


1 comment:

  1. “Without music, life would be an error.”
    Friedrich Nietzsche quotes (German classical Scholar, Philosopher and Critic of culture, 1844-1900.)