‘When Paths Meet’ live at Holland Festival (Full Speech)

Posted on June 11th, 2022

Good Evening and Welcome!

It’s wonderful to be here with all of you. 

What a beautiful setting for tonight’s performance and for spending these moments together!

You just heard Veritas, one of two brand new compositions that are premiering here tonight. Opening with its distinctly Central Asian tones and ethereal vocalizations that hint at a time before time, its mood shifts to one of awe at the fiery majesty of creation. The next new work that follows, Karitas, evokes the pure love that flows through the heart of all things. It’s the very love that’s found in abundance in every note and every word of the different traditions heard here.

Throughout the rest of the program, you’ll hear traditional instruments from lands stretching from China to Spain, and our very talented choral group from right here in Amsterdam. The music has its origins at times in Middle Eastern modal systems, at times in flamenco rhythms and Andalusian melodies. And at other times the sound of early Western choral music is front and center. Lyrics come from mystical writings of luminaries across centuries – in Latin, German, Turkish, and Arabic.. And you’ll hear what may be surprising new arrangements of some of my well-known pieces.

I’ve had a love affair with traditional music from childhood, for the ways it can express the most subtle realities that exist just beyond words. When Paths Meet is born from that love. 

It’s my view that the best way to know another culture, another people, is to listen to its music.

Traditional music holds sacred memories, it tells stories of the heart, it creates dreams for the future. Without words, it shares ways of knowing.

Each culture’s traditional music is a voice meant to be shared, to flow like a river from person to person, to bring listener and performer into the vibrant, creative space of the present moment, that moment poised between memory and vision. I believe we must do all we can to carry that voice forward to the next generations, for if it sings its last note and falls silent forever, we’ll have lost an essential part of our very selves. 

That’s why I’m passionate about the ecstatic dialogue we’re sharing tonight. In this era where the same formulaic pop songs are omnipresent from Amsterdam to Dubai to Singapore, I want to do my part to keep our precious musical legacies from being lost, forever drowned out by their sound. In When Paths Meet, we’re reimagining traditions in a contemporary language. This is a dialogue where each voice, each musical language, is heard and recognized, its truths unveiled. And when we leave this meeting place of paths, it’s my hope we leave enriched, inspired — maybe even transformed.

Truly talented musicians move with ease between interpreting, improvising and creating. That’s just what the groups present tonight do brilliantly.

Please give a round of applause for the extraordinary vocalists of Cappella Amsterdam

For the exceptionally talented Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra

For my team of master musicians who have joined us from around the world…

It’s my hope that the beauty created tonight by these extraordinary musicians will ignite a flame of love for the music in listeners, so that these vibrant arts will be passed on for generations to come.

Huge thanks to all the amazing musicians here tonight. Thanks to the Holland Festival for sharing the vision and making this possible.

And my deep thanks to you, the audience. By your presence here you help to keep the beating heart of this music alive. 

Enjoy the rest of the performance!