Moving to Afghanistan
Living in Afghanistan, I will have the opportunity to test the belief that animates every Cultures in Harmony project: that music can help bring peace to our world.
In no project that Cultures in Harmony has attempted will this belief be as tested as it will in Kabul. One American violinist will move to Afghanistan at the same time as thousands of American troops. The people of Afghanistan have been outraged as our weapons continue to injure and kill innocent civilians. If there is one country where the United States has not begun to recover its reputation in the age of Obama, it would be Afghanistan.
Yet most people in Afghanistan yearn for peace and friendship. They want to bring the culture of music—a culture that the Taliban drove underground—back to their country. One of the reasons I founded Cultures in Harmony was an article that appeared in the New York Times on November 20, 2001. It quoted a 16-year-old named Ajmal from Jalalabad: "We are searching for any kind of music. It's been six years since I heard music. There are no words to explain the happiness I think I will feel when I hear it."
While in Afghanistan, I will teach violin and viola privately, help start an orchestra and chamber ensembles, and perform alongside local musicians. I look forward to learning how to play Afghan music, and I will do my best to speak Dari. I will also continue the vital work of Cultures in Harmony by enjoying access to high-speed internet and telecommunications. Our projects in 2010 will proceed as planned.
In August 2009, I will go to Pakistan with Cultures in Harmony for three weeks. Upon returning, I will be in New York City before moving to Kabul in late October 2009. Because the school where I teach has a lengthy winter break, I look forward to being back in the United States from December 2009 to March 2010.
I would love to see those of you who live in New York over the next couple months. Please follow this blog while I am in Afghanistan, as I will use it as the primary means of relaying news.
In lieu of a gift in the next couple months, please consider a tax-deductible donation to Cultures in Harmony. Whether we are conducting projects in Tunisia, Mexico, or Pakistan, as we will in just a few weeks, or our director moves to Afghanistan to accept a job congruent with our mission, we remain passionately dedicated to music's power to cast light into the world.