William Harvey's thoughts about the ability of the arts to cross cultural barriers, including diary entries from his job teaching at Afghanistan National Institute of Music; news about Cultures in Harmony, the non-profit he founded in 2005; reviews of Bollywood movies; and general thoughts about cultural diplomacy.
- Name: William Harvey
- Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Yesterday, in my capacity as an employee of Afghanistan National Institute of Music, I conducted the Afghan Youth Orchestra for President Karzai for the sixth time. When he came over to the orchestra to congratulate us, he asked, "Where's the German?" as I was already walking forward, so now he probably thinks I am German. He thanked us and shook my hand, and was then thrilled to learn about our plan to tour the USA. "Go to America, and show them that we also have an orchestra!" he encouraged the students in Dari.
Now, I am in Dubai: switching to my other capacity as Founder and Director of Cultures in Harmony, and also switching to a country with a very different political climate. If I could shake the President's hand in Afghanistan, I would have a hard time doing so in Egypt: only today were the results of the presidential election announced! Cultures in Harmony's Kimball Gallagher has already landed in Cairo, so I look forward to hearing from him tomorrow what the atmosphere was like as Egyptians celebrated the announcement of the results of their first democratic presidential election.
One thing is for certain: today, the universal language of music forged a positive connection between a beaming Afghan security guard and a certain American violinist/conductor who felt surprised and honored to be recognized. Tomorrow in Egypt, many more connections will begin, as surely as the contact between bow and string sets the air between performer and listener in motion.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Egypt and Tunisia project starts Monday
In Egypt, CiH will partner with the extraordinary NGO Bridge to put together a music festival called Musical Koshary in which we will create and then perform music in collaboration with Egyptian musicians. In Tunisia, we will partner with the fantastic Atlas Music Academy to teach young musicians and initiate a "musical caravan," which will be a tour of villages in which we will present community engagement concerts alongside our Tunisian musical partners in an affirmation of music's central role in social change.
I will be joined in Egypt by pianist Kimball Gallagher, CiH's Deputy Director; flutist Allie Deaver-Petchenik, who will blog about her experiences here; and violist Kayleigh Miller. In Tunisia, soprano Tiffany DuMouchelle and cellist Patrick McGuire will join the four of us. "Connecting Cultures through Counterpoint," which will also see CiH head to Pakistan in August, is underwritten by the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and by the Embassy of the USA in Tunisia.
I will blog as frequently as I can about our work, so please check in as often as you can!