On Unity through Music
As I write this, political leaders are calling for unity and civility in these divisive times. I can think of no better way to heed their call than sharing with you the intention behind our November concert program.
On November 10, the Longmont Symphony will welcome Taka Kigawa — from Longmont’s sister city of Chino, Japan — to Vance Brand Civic Auditorium. This will be a joyous event that highlights our shared humanity with people from distant shores, and one that emphasizes how some of the greatest artistic achievements were created not by holding steadfastly to our own ideas of how the world should be, but rather by taking inspiration from other cultures and merging these ‘foreign’ concepts with our own.
For this event, the LSO is teaming up with the Longmont Sister Cities Association, which is affiliated with Sister Cities International. Sister Cities International, founded in 1956, has the mission to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. While we are thrilled to have Taka performing with us, we wanted to be sure to give as many people in our community the possibility of not just hearing this great artist from our sister city, but also of getting to know him on a more personal level. Not only will he and his wife be joining us after the November performance for a reception at Bin 46 Craft Bar & Restaurant — to which everyone is invited — but he will also be performing an intimate house recital on November 7 (Note: this event is now sold out!). Attending these performances, and getting into the spirit and intention of these events, is a beautiful way to support ideas that foster mutual respect, understanding and unity — something we could use more of!
Our November 10 program opens with the Colorado premiere of Conor Abbot Brown’s How to Relax with Origami. Conor is no stranger to taking inspiration from other cultures; each of the short movements of this work is designed to be like Japanese origami, which is to say that each movement is a small, but complex, work of art.
The other works on the program are influenced by other cultures as well: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, which Taka will be performing, was primarily inspired by American Jazz. Ravel was astonished that so few American composers were influenced by jazz, as he saw it as a vital source of inspiration for modern composers. And Debussy’s La Mer (“The Sea”) was inspired by the famous painting by the Japanese artist, Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. However, Debussy did much more than compose an orchestral tone poem of a wave based on a painting. Rather, Debussy uses melody, harmony, and form in wholly new and innovative ways based upon Japanese influences to create a new kind of orchestral work that has inspired music lovers for well over a century.
I invite you to join the entire Longmont Symphony organization as we promote unity and cultural understanding through music.