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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Music Always Matters

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Music matters, particularly when it stimulates resistance and political activation necessary to protect human rights and the basic principles of democracy.


John Williams's beautiful theme presented from Schindler's List does just that, and it seems particularly appropriate for today's Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities—given the rising threat of white nationalism around the world reported by the US Justice Department, Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Anti-Defamation League.


Williams's theme has the ability to make the strongest among us sob—particularly when conducted by my super-talented Los Angeles Philharmonic hero, Gustavo Dudamel, and featuring Itzhak Perlman on his 1714 Stradivarius violin.    


For those of you who might have missed reading Thomas Keneally's 1982 Booker Prize-winning book titled Schindler's Ark, on which Steven Spielberg's 1993 black and white film Schindler's List was based, it proved to be one of the greatest humanitarian stories ever told. 


The film won seven Oscars, including one for John Williams's best original film score.


The book and film addressed the tragic events of the Holocaust and those who looked the other way for far too long, and the heroic role one Nazi Party member named Oskar Schindler played. His brave resistance actions saved the lives of 1,200 Jews by recruiting them to work in his Polish factory. 


The powerful idea that each person can save the life of another underlies the book and film. Again, Schindler's famous closing line in the film: 


Whoever saves one life saves the world entire—I could have done more.


Spielberg relinquished his salary for the movie and any proceeds he would stand to make in perpetuity, calling any such personal gains "blood money." The film's profits were used to found the Shoah Foundation, established to honor and remember the survivors of the Holocaust by collecting personal recollections and audio visual interviews. 


Have a thoughtful Sunday.


Ellen Troyer, with the Biosyntrx staff


In the wake of the recent New Zealand mosque shootings, the House Judiciary Committee has proposed holding hearings this month on the rise of white nationalism in the US. 


Closing thoughts: We are all challenged to recognize how narratives, policies, and institutions of society work to systematically advantage some and disadvantage others. 


It's not divisive to point out the reality that to become the safe, well-educated, physically, financially, and environmentally healthy nation we aspire to be, we must uproot racism, sexism, white nationalism, and exaggerated religious zealotry—while nurturing leadership that supports goals that move all humanity forward.