When beauty pageants, human rights, and music collide

It’s likely that, were it not for some controversy, the most recent Miss USA spectacle would have passed largely unnoticed, as befits an outdated and sexist institution that ironically claims to be progressive and feminist (because seeing a woman in a swimsuit is apparently an essential way to gauge her intellectual capacities). But the competition … Continue reading When beauty pageants, human rights, and music collide

Book Review: Playing for their Lives

This review originally appeared in the February 2017 edition of the European String Teacher Association (ESTA) Journal. In 2009, before I left for Venezuela to work with its national orchestra network, better known as El Sistema, Tricia Tunstall presented me with a copy of her piano memoir Note by Note. One evening on my travels … Continue reading Book Review: Playing for their Lives

To confer and to confront

I miss the old days, when doing a conference entailed sequencing a few heart-warming anecdotes from Venezuela, and where the only challenge was choosing the right tone and tenor to leave the audience bathed in moral elevation having heard firsthand the power of music. I particularly missed those days at 3am last Wednesday morning when … Continue reading To confer and to confront