In Concert…

In Concert…

Photo credit: Geoff Chesman – ImageLink Photo

“I would like to cordially welcome you at the Russian Embassy,” said Ambassador Anatoly Antonov.  “Today we honor three young but already accomplished musicians – Kenneth Broberg, Zlatomir Fung and Ansel Norris. They represented the US and became prize-winners of the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition. I am confident that the successful participation of the American colleagues in this prestigious competition will serve as a springboard in their professional career and international recognition of their talents.”

“Not many people know that the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 was won by a US citizen, outstanding pianist Van Cliburn,” he added. “His sensational performance in Moscow at the height of the Cold War helped break down cultural barriers and gave hope for finding mutual understanding between our countries based on love for classical music.”

“I would like to acknowledge selfless efforts of Valery Gergiev – co-chair of the Organizing Committee of the Competition – who does a lot for further professional growth of its winners. Yesterday they were honored at one of the main concert venues in the US – Carnegie Hall. This week a series of performances will take place at a new concert hall of the Russian capital – Zaryadye Hall. This is the goal which Ms. Susan Carmel, founder of the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History at the American University, recipient of the Russian Order of Friendship, has been pursuing for years. Tonight’s concert, like many other Russia-US cultural projects, is the result of her tireless work.”

“Dear friends, I would like to stress once again,” Ambassador Antonov concluded, “that such events as today are extremely important. Cultural cooperation once helped melt the ice of the Cold War. Its importance can be hardly overestimated nowadays too, since the universal language of art unites people of the most diverse nationalities, no matter what is going on in the world of big politics.”

Susan Carmel, (3rd from right)

“Tonight I am honored to also be here as a sponsor of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and to honor these talented musicians, all medalists in the 16th annual International Tchaikovsky Competition,” said Ms. Carmel. “The three medalists that you will hear perform tonight also happen to be Americans. So this is truly an ‘All-American’ recital here at the Embassy of the Russian Federation! To me, this is an ideal example of the unifying power of the arts and culture.”

“I firmly believe that the best way to enhance greater understanding between people is to focus on culture and history—both similarities and differences.  Cultural sharing can form the creative bridges necessary for people from different backgrounds to work together. The artistic world works cooperatively, and it is an honor for me to help highlight this cooperation and mutual respect. I am so glad to see more than 100 scholars from the Carmel Institute here tonight—some of whom will soon be at the forefront of international diplomacy—including of course, US-Russia relations. It is essential that they form accurate critical thinking skills in order to authentically interpret history, culture, and events.”

“Better understanding will help these future generations to achieve an open mind, rather than resorting to stereotypical thinking. Through cultural dialogue—and maintaining an open mind—we thwart any attempt to close the doors of communication. In challenging times, it is essential to keep the doors of communication open and to establish and maintain cultural dialogue. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky once said, ‘Only music clarifies, reconciles, and consoles.’ Let us not simply agree with this philosophy, but also make it our own—not only enjoying the beauty of music, but embracing its inherent power to create peace and unity.”