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Monday, October 24, 2011
Daniel Hope’s “East Meets West“—An Introduction


Today we’re publishing a post written by violinist Daniel Hope, an introduction he wrote to his concert at 92nd Street Y on October 27 entitled “East Meets West.” The program features a pianist, sitar player and tabla player, seen in the photo at top.

“East Meets West“—An Introduction:
Our planet has literally become a global village, thanks in part to the internet. You can reach almost anyone, anywhere, at any time. So what’s really behind the idea of “East Meets West?”

The concert on October 27 will attempt to demonstrate that long before the invention of digital mass media, there were connections between distant places with reciprocal influences and inspirations.

“East Meets West” will also look at the creation and evolution of an instrument which has fascinated me since I was four years old: the violin. No one actually knows who invented the violin. In Europe, it can be traced back to the ninth century, but its actual origin may well have been Asia. The concept of instruments played by rubbing the strings is linked to the appearance of the bow, which was imported from Asia by the Arabs or the Nordic tribes—we’re not sure which. Musicians as travelers between two worlds, were, in a sense, the very first global players. But whether the real fruition of the violin occurred in northern Europe, the Near East, India or Central Asia, still remains a mystery. 

Above all, “East Meets West” is an examination of how we, as human beings, are influenced and inspired by faraway places. Whether it is Western composers whose eastward glances indulged their creative fantasies, or Eastern composers reaching out to what must seem like unusual or exotic customs of the Western world, it is my hope to identify some of these influences and their effects, in all their similarities and differences. Maurice Ravel, with his unique sound world and musical curiosity, represents a musical bridge connecting both worlds. Gaurav Mazumdar, with whom I have been studying and performing Indian music for ten years, gives us his own compositional take on tonight’s theme. 

We invite you to accompany us on a journey, from western Europe to India and Japan; and from the southeast of Europe via Turkey into Northern Africa and the Orient. Could there even be a direct connection between the violin and the sitar? I’ll leave that for you to decide…

[Daniel Hope, violin & “East Meets West”]

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