Message of peace through music -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Message of peace through music

By: Peerzada Salman

KARACHI: The National Academy of Performing Arts faculty and students along with the US-based string quartet Cultures in Harmony will present musical shows at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs’ auditorium on Sept 4 and Sept 5, announced Napa music department head Ustad Nafees Ahmed on Wednesday.

While speaking at a press conference at Hindu Gymkhana, Ustad Nafees Ahmed said a large chunk of the performances would be instrumental and a small portion would have the vocal element. He said he and his faculty had been coordinating with members of Cultures in Harmony to structure the show with mutual consent and advice. “The purpose is to highlight the common factors that exist between eastern and western music,” he said.

Among other pieces, he said, Ustad Salamat Hussain would play a solo on the flute and a duet with Ustad Bashir Khan on the tabla was also being prepared.

Ustad Nafees said Napa had always encouraged its students to learn from such events and progress. In the upcoming gig, a young classical singer, Intizar Husain, would display his talent as well, he added.

Violinist William Harvey of Cultures in Harmony briefed journalists about the genesis of his group. He said he was a freshman when 9/11 happened. Inspired by the incident, he decided to do whatever he could as a musician to avoid such tragedies.

He said music was an international language and could help him achieve that goal. Therefore in 2005 he formed Cultures in Harmony to spread the message of peace through music. So far the group had been to 12 countries and undertaken more than 20 projects. He said he’d been to Pakistan on a few occasions and performed with local musicians here, including those belonging to Napa. Doing so, he had felt “strong musical connection”.

He told the journalists that Cultures in Harmony was a string quartet, and he played violin in it. His fellow group members (who were sitting beside him) Emily Holden was also a violinist while Peter Myers was a cellist. Another member of the band, Holly Jenkins, could not make it to the press conference.

Replying to a question on the differences between eastern and western forms of classical music, Mr Harvey said he was still learning about the former but could say that eastern classical music was not notated the same way.

Ms Holden said one couldn’t improvise in western classical music. Peter Myers echoed her comment and added he was new to it and was willing to learn more from Pakistani musicians.