Seattle Symphony Performs “Music Beyond Borders: Voices from the Seven”

February 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Cheers to Seattle Symphony for their recent concert, “Music Beyond Borders: Voices from the Seven”! The “Seven” refers to the seven predominately Muslim countries that Trump’s regime put a travel ban on, along with banning all new refugee arrivals in the U.S. The concert featured beautiful orchestral and chamber music from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. It played to an enthusiastic live audience but was also seen by hundreds of thousands online, and it continues to be available on YouTube. The response shows the widespread desire and potential to understand and stand with people in the targeted nations and across national boundaries. In this, the concert was a significant “in your face” to the heartless cruelty of the Trump-Pence fascist ban.

The concert was put together in less than a week, with the musicians themselves being the driving force. Seattle Symphony President and CEO Simon Woods said the concert came out of considerations of the role of arts organizations in civil discourse and big conversations affecting communities of people. Woods said, “All of us are just much more ignorant about these incredible musical traditions from that part of the world than we should be, so to hear this extraordinary music from Syria and the extraordinary music from Iran and Iraq, I mean, apart from everything else, people went away not only with their hearts filled, but just challenged to think—what incredible cultures these are. It took all of us by surprise, the emotion in the room. To me it was this is what happens when you take art out to meet the community where they are.”

Mikhail Shmidt—first violinist of the symphony and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union—said at the end of the concert, “Our mission is to unleash the power of music, bring people together and to lift the human spirit, and I feel tonight every word of that statement rings true so much. And it’s a very special night for all of us on stage and I hope for you too.”

Check out the video on YouTube!

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