Eric Lewis Music as an evolutionary tool to better the world
With the recent horrendous massacre of 40 Yemeni schoolchildren in a U.S.-backed Saudi bombing that clearly violated customary international legal protocol and practice in armed conflicts, and placed the U.S. in the forefront of aiding and abetting blatant war crimes, I feel it’s my duty to cry out, as a musician, a cultural ambassador, and citizen of our planet.
Looking around our small and beautiful Earth, we are constantly stung with the discord of man’s inhumanity to man. The view from the moon confirms the fragility of our existence on this delicately balanced sphere. To protect and preserve our planet has to be the rallying cry of all peoples for the foreseeable future.
We musicians of the world, especially those who perform in chamber music ensembles, so blessed with the principles of compromise, listening to others, and “ensemble knowledge,” play a part in this effort. No matter where from, musicians communicate directly on a human level that bypasses hate and prejudice.
The time is fast approaching when the world with its many languages is going to come to depend on the universal language of music for its very survival. In this way I see music as an evolutionary tool — a tool enabling us to end war on the earth and create a new form of communication for our exploration of the solar system and beyond.
I think the next Renaissance is overdue. These times are transitional, full of fear, yet bursting with hope. Chamber music can fuel that hope, with practical solutions for our behavioral problems. A revolution in thinking will surely continue to grow, and chamber musicians can have a direct impact on the scope of that revolution. In a way, we are behavioral scientists researching the group dynamic to unlock rigid rings of custom.
I, for one, put my children, your children, our children first, and I abhor what Jimmy Carter once named the world’s “#1 warmonger” — namely the U.S. — is supporting, promoting, and encouraging for the sake of capital gain.
The poet Munia Khan once wrote, “There’s an infant part in our souls which longs for the lullaby truths of life...” May we all come together...to sing. With voices raised. We owe that to our fellow mankind.
Eric Lewis, a Danbury resident, is a founder and first violinist of the Manhattan String Quartet and professor emeritus of Music at Western Connecticut State University.