Welcome to my life

            

I was first introduced to the power of music as a 3-year old sitting in church with my parents. I remember keenly watching the pianist play the hymns each week before going home to try and figure out what I had just heard. Since then, I've never lost the urge to discover all that I can about music and how it works. 

 

However, as I've grown older, I've also given more thought to the ways that music functions as part of our larger society. This stems in many ways from the time I spent in college studying broadcast journalism (my second major) and working as a field reporter for the local news station. Those experiences opened my eyes to the shocking lack of awareness that many people have surrounding not only world issues, but issues facing their local communities.
 
I attribute this mainly to a failure of all parties to clearly communicate with each other. Music can bridge these gaps and provide all of us with a digestible way to plug into the world outside of our doors. It is for this reason that I devote a significant portion of my programming to music that speaks towards current social issues, rather than limit myself solely to the wonderful, though sometimes overplayed traditional repertoire. It may be an unreachable aspiration, but I aim to be a conduit for positive social change with every program that I learn.

Though separated by 130 years and an impossible gulf of personal experience, the composer Ludwig van Beethoven and the writer Langston Hughes share an unlikely bond of artistic sensibilities. Inspiration across mediums creatively energized both: Hughes was a musical historian and produced rhythmically inspired verse, while Beethoven's love of poetry gave rise to numerous immortal compositions, not least “Ode to Joy”. On the date of Hughes's birthday, Terrance McKnight, the project creator and WQXR host, further illuminates these geniuses' synergy with a selection of Beethoven's piano works, and other composers such as David Baker and George Gershwin, that he's set to poems by Hughes. This co-presentation with the New York Philharmonic will feature select members of the Phil and guest artists, piano soloist Kyle P. Walker and the rich operatic tenor voice of Chauncey Packer.

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