Monday, April 23, 2007

Rena Sharon's piano recitals in Rwanda

Deborah Kirshner writes in the May 2007 issue of The Walrus about pianist Rena Sharon's recent trip to Rwanda, the desire and appreciation of Rwandans for music, and Rena's experiences with musical reactions quite unlike those found in Western audiences. Rena says of a performance at the AIDS unit of the Central University Hospital of Kigali:

“I love the way this audience responds to music,” she adds. “With such immediacy and depth. I suppose it’s the emotional range of classical music that is so appealing. I gave a class for some advanced students who blew me away. I played a virtuosic piece by Bach for them, demonstrating different approaches to the same music. I did it once as brilliantly as I could and then again in a slower more contemplative manner. I was sure the kids would respond to the fast, showy playing like they would in North America, but to my great surprise, they all preferred the second rendition. ‘C’├ętait spirituelle,’ they said, almost instantly.”

Warning: Deborah Kirshner's article may restore your faith in the power of music to inspire and heal.

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