The Effects of Music

In just a few more days a music conference will be held in Bergen, Norway, entitled The Effects of Music. I very much look forward to participating and giving my presentation entitled "Education Reform and the Music Doctorate: Current Issues in Europe and North America" at this event.

According to the conference announcement, “The goal for the seminar is to stimulate interdisciplinary innovative thinking concerning questions that are important in several academic music areas but that are seldom debated on an interdisciplinary level. Many different approaches will be presented, e.g. theoretic, historical, educational, therapeutic as well as artistic point of views. Through exploring different topics in music, such as interpretation, reception, educational use etc. the relations between different parts of music will be articulated and discussed. The seminar will consist of academic and artistic presentations and debates. The presentations will be in Norwegian the first day and in English the second day.”

Further above is an image of Norse explorer Leif Erikson, who visited America around 500 years before Columbus “discovered” it. Since 1964, the USA has officially recognized October 9 as Leif Erikson Day, since that on that day in 1825 the first large group of Norwegian immigrants arrived in New York.



Damascus: possibly the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Below are images of (1) nearby, the ancient city of Ma'loula (where probably the world's oldest churches -- founded by St. Paul -- are located and Aramaic is still spoken), (2) the new Damascus Opera House, (3) the spice market of Old Damascus, (4) the magnificent Umayyad Mosque, a sacred site which enshrines Hussayn (grandson of Mohammed) and unique relics that even include "John the Baptist's head", and (5) a meal with Syrian Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Nahel Al Halabi and concert pianist Dr. Chaden Yafi (leading young classical musicians affiliated with the opera and conservatory).

I taught a workshop today for trumpeters at the conservatory, following a meeting with the Director of the opera house, and then had a marvelous meal and visited various sites in Old Damascus. The architecture, design, spices and calligraphy were all certainly memorable, but the ecstatic singing and tearful prayers at these sacred sites were especially impressive.


Abu Dhabi

I am enjoying Abu Dhabi today. The call to prayer, heard many times per day all throughout the city, has a very musical sound to it, although not usually acknowledged as a form of music. Yesterday I taught a seminar in Norway, advising graduate students on research plans for their theses. The mosques of Abu Dhabi are certainly a contrast to the elegant old wooden buildings of Bergen, but both cities have impressive contemporary architecture as well, and the latest architecture of nearby Dubai is also truly astonishing. I visited this ultra-modern city today with my sister Christina (below). Later this week I will travel to Syria, where I look forward to visiting the Opera House of Damascus. Here are some photos I took yesterday and today at the world's tallest building and the eighth largest mosque, both here in United Arab Emirates. We also managed to visit the Emirates Palace on the same evening the Queen of England arrived, so security was unusually tight.


Give Peace a Chance

At the 30th annual John Lennon tribute, the Playing for Change Foundation (PFCF) is now announcing its Power to the People campaign to raise awareness and funding for peace-building music education programs.

More information:



RIP Gorecki

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (December 6, 1933 – November 12, 2010)