US to build Cross-cultural understanding with Nigeria via Music

The United States Mission to Nigeria says it is committed to building cross-cultural understanding between the US and Nigeria through music.

The Deputy Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate, Jennifer Foltz, gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen at the sidelines of a musical performance by American classical pianist, Pauline Yang, held in Ibadan.

The concert, attended by music enthusiasts who cut across all strata of the society, was organised on Sunday, by the United States Mission in Nigeria and supported by the Arts Envoy Programme of the Department of State, United States of America.

Foltz noted that over the years, there have been a variety of professional and cultural exchanges between Nigeria and the US for better understanding of their style of music.

She stated that the musical performance by Yang and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, was important for the sake of engaging Nigerian audiences and educating them on the genre of music.

According to her, the joint performance, which saw the US Ambassador to Nigeria playing on the flute alongside Yang, was to share the best of US arts with a Nigerian audience.

Foltz said; “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

She also engages with young people through master classes and doing a lot of radio interviews to talk about her experience here in Nigeria.

Disclosing that the concert had been held in Abuja and Lagos before Ibadan, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer said; ”It is important to share arts due to the sake of cross-cultural understanding…

Bringing an American classical pianist allows her to engage with Nigerians and musicians and talk about her life and experience, as she inspires and motivates musicians she meets to pursue careers in music as well.”
Speaking after her performance, the American classical pianist, Pauline Yang, commended Nigerian youths for their enthusiasm in showcasing their culture in other countries through music and corrected some misconceptions about classical music.
She said the genre was not a boring one but only needed to be explored further.

Yang described classical music as a foundation for most music, expressing the hope that more people would explore its beauty as against the misunderstandings that surround it.

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

”And so I really hope that more people in different parts of the world, including Nigeria, will express more interest and curiosity in learning more about classical music and perhaps even starting to learn an instrument with classical repertoire.”

She stated that Nigeria has been doing an incredible job, especially the youths.

Highpoint of the event was the performance of the Nigerian National anthem on flute by Ambassador Leonard as well as the joint presentation of the American National Anthem by the duo of the US Ambassador and the visiting pianist, Yang.

At the end of the concert, the President, Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development (IACD), Dr Kolade Mosuro, presented the two artistes with talking drums in appreciation of their performance.
Mercy Chukwudiebere
US to build Cross-cultural understanding with Nigeria via Music

»US to build Cross-cultural understanding with Nigeria via Music«

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