American classical pianist performs in Ibadan, says people misunderstand classical music

By Ibukun Emiola

Visiting American Classical Pianist, Pauline Yang, has expressed the hope that more people would explore the beauty of classical music as a foundation for most music around the world.

Yang stated this on Sunday in Ibadan at a concert that also showcased United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, on flute.

According to her, the classical brand of music is rather being misunderstood as boring by some people.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, organised by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, is supported by the Arts Envoy programme of the Department of State, United States of America.

Yang said: “I feel that there are lots of misunderstandings about classical music unfortunately.

“For example, some people think that classical music may be boring, some think that classical music in concert arts is considered a dead form of arts, I would like to beg otherwise.

“I believe that classical music is a foundation for a lot of music, which most people all over the world do love but they don’t realise that a lot of it comes  from the foundation of western classical music.

“And there is so much beauty to be explored and there is an endless infinite amount of repertoire, that’s so greatly written by some wonderful composers for the past centuries and we are so lucky to have their works.”

She also expressed the hope that more people in different parts of the world, including Nigeria would be interested in learning more about classical music and perhaps, even starting to learn an instrument with classical repertoire.

According to her, Nigeria has been doing an incredible job in the field of arts, especially with the youths.

“I am seeing and hearing a lot of excitement and energy among the youths in the arts and culture scenes.

“I feel like the Nigerian youths are also very excited and enthusiastic to showcase their culture abroad and so I feel that would be really important moving forward.

“This is because there is a lot of great work in arts and culture scenes that I have already seen and heard myself within my short time here so far.

“So I certainly hope that everyone will continue to share these with the world,” Yang said.

Also, Jennifer Foltz, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate Lagos, said that the concert was to share the best of US arts with Nigerian audience.

According to Foltz, a variety of different exchange programmes are done at the US mission in Nigeria,

“We take Nigerians to the United States for professional, cultural and educational exchanges, we also bring Americans to Nigeria.

“And among those we bring are artists, sometimes visual artists, sometimes we bring sports players and this time we decided to bring a classical pianist so she can engage with different audiences.

“We have had this concerts in Abuja and Lagos and Ibadan now. She also engages with young people through master classes and she is doing a lot of radio interviews to talk about her experience here in Nigeria,” Foltz said.

She also said that arts were important, adding that it was important to share them since it was important for cross-cultural understanding.

“And so bringing an American classical pianist here allows her to engage with Nigerians and musicians and talk about her life and experience.

“She is inspiring and motivating the musicians she’s meeting to pursue careers in music as well,” Foltz said.

At the end of the concert, the President, Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development (IACD), Dr Kolade Mosuro, presented the two artists with talking drums in appreciation of their performance.

NAN reports that some of the repertoires played at the event include FAURÉ Sicilienne from Pelleas et Melisande for flute and piano, Bach “Sheep May Safely Graze” Cantata transcribed by Egon Petri, Scarlatti Sonata in A Major and D Major among others. (NAN)

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