Oct. 8 DSO concert to honor Pearl

Sometimes it's enough to play music just to play music-the thrill of the score, the notes swirling in the air, the electricity between audience and performer.

But at other times, there's something more. That will be the case at Duke Symphony Orchestra's concert Wednesday. The group will dedicate the show-titled "Czech It Out"-to the memory of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and slain by terrorists while reporting in Pakistan in early 2002.

"I think it gives it a little more meaning," said DSO Secretary Swathi Padmanabhan, a junior and violinist. "It's not just about rehearsing music and going out and playing it. It's something that's bigger than everybody. It gives us more of a purpose and helps us remember why it is we do what we do."

DSO is one of a host of bands and artists-also including big names like R.E.M. and Herbie Hancock-to participate in Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an annual "awareness-raiser" organized by the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

Its namesake, memorialized in the 2007 film A Mighty Heart, was a violinist himself, and the concerts seek to "remind... the world of the principles by which Danny lived, the universal power of music and our shared humanity," according to their website.

DSO's involvement began when Director Harry Davidson, a professor of the practice of music, received an e-mail inviting the ensemble to participate. He liked the idea, but decided to let students decide.

"I had no idea if that was something that would be interesting to them," he said. "I simply forwarded the e-mail to the newly elected officers of the orchestra and they basically took the bow and ran with it."

Padmanabhan said members have not yet decided how to commemorate Pearl at the concert. There may be a written notice, she said, or else a member may speak briefly.

"We're also collaborating with Amnesty International, and they're going to have a display set up in the lobby talking about human rights issues and where Daniel Pearl fits into that," she said. "We're trying to reach out to a greater community."

As for the concert, it will-as the title suggests-feature the works of Czechoslovakian composers. The show will be anchored by Dvorak's lyrical, folk music-rooted Eighth Symphony. Also on the program is the Symphony in D Major by the lesser known Vorisek.

"I thought the composer and the piece remained pretty unknown, and the music certainly withstands being in the repertoire," Davidson explained.

Rounding out the evening will be a performance of Stamitz's Sinfonia Concertante in D Major, featuring faculty members Hsiao-mei Ku and Jonathan Bagg as violin and viola soloists, respectively.

Czech It Out is at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8 in Baldwin Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.


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