George Mathew to lead benefit concert for Pak-flood aid

NEW YORK: Singapore-born Indian conductor George Mathew will be leading a benefit concert of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony organized by Music For Life International Inc. and American Pakistan Foundation.

Beethoven for the Indus Valley is an urgent call to the global community to move as swiftly as possible to give the resources and support that the Pakistani people need to rebuild their lives and communities after the devastating floods of 2010. The concert will be presented at Carnegie Hall on Jan 31, and the proceeds will benefit Acumen Fund.

George Mathew, founder and Artistic Director of Music For Life International and Ubuntu-Shruti, has emerged as one of the leading forces in the classical music world bringing symphonic music to focus on global humanitarian issues and crises at the beginning of the 21st Century. In 2010-11 he makes appearances in the US, India, Panama, Morocco and South Africa as conductor and ambassador for transformative action through music.

Beethoven for the Indus Valley will bring together many of the world’s finest orchestral musicians. Principal artists will gather from the New York Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Emerson Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and other international orchestras and ensembles; students and faculty of The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and other major music schools.

Speaking about the concert, Mathew observed, “Beethoven himself makes a musical statement in the Finale of the Ninth Symphony that goes to the heart of our mission with this concert. Writing in an earlier era of tension between East and West, Beethoven uses the music of the Turkish military, music of the Islamic world, to provide stability and indeed possibility for the German (western) setting of the famous Ode to Joy tune. In that moment Beethoven seems to become the voice of a whole civilization in that rare moment of embrace of another civilization. It seems that Beethoven is suggesting that “embracing the spirit of the other, engaging the culture of the other is probably a more interesting form of interaction than rejecting the other, or being afraid of it, or declaring war on it or deporting it.”

Two hundred years later, it appears we have still much to learn from this great wise man of music and the world,” Mathew noted, “In gathering together as a community of musicians, listeners and supporters we send a message of solidarity and human support to our fellow human beings in Pakistan who have been so hard hit by these devastating floods in addition to whatever financial support we muster.”

Beethoven for the Indus Valley is the fourth in a series of global humanitarian concerts that George Mathew has conceived and presented at Carnegie Hall, gathering together artists from the world’s finest orchestras, ensembles and music schools for humanitarian causes while employing the music itself as their central source of energy.

Mathew drew inspiration from the success of Beethoven’s Ninth for South Asia, Requiem for Darfur and Mahler for the children of AIDS, which were benefits for the victims of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan; for the victims of the ongoing conflict in Darfur; and for Pediatric AIDS worldwide, respectively.

The concerts, presented in Carnegie Hall, brought together distinguished musicians from over 50 leading international ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, the Emerson, American, Mendelssohn and Brentano String Quartets, and students, graduates and faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard School, Curtis Institute and others.

The funds raised by Beethoven for the Indus Valley will go to the Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture, for their work in Pakistan to empower affected communities to drive their own recovery through investment in civil society resources and infrastructure.

India Post News Service

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