They came from around the world. They came bearing gifts. Not gifts you could touch with your hands. But gifts that touched your soul. Gifts of beautiful music, and beautiful dance.
And the people came to hear them. And they kept coming, and they kept coming till none of the 120 seats were left. And after there was no more room for extra chairs, they stood in the aisles, and they stood in the lobby, and they sat behind the curtains. They were Danes, and they were diplomats, and other people, from many nations, maybe 200 in total.
The dialogue of cultures between the sponsors of the concert, itself, led to the great success — the Schiller Institute, the Russian-Danish Dialogue organization, the Russian House in Copenhagen, and the China Culture Center of the Chinese Embassy (about to open, which also provided intermission food). And the concert was held in the Russian Center for Science and Culture of the Russian Embassy.
Firstly, the people were told by Schiller Institute chairman Tom that we have a unique moment in world history, where the potential is there for the U.S. to join the new paradigm of economic development sweeping the world. Secondly, they were told by the spokeswoman for the Russian-Danish Dialogue, that a dialogue of culture can lead to peace in the world. They were also the interchanging hosts for the evening.
Then the procession of gift-givers began.
From Russia came children playing Russian folk songs on balalaikas, and a baritone who has sung on 200 stages, performed Mozart and Gounod, together with his pianist. From China came a very musical young science student who played many flutes, and sang a Chinese love song, a duet, with Feride. From Indonesia came a traditional dancer, who filled the room with her grace. From Ghana came two young men who sang and played a religious song, and a song about when we work together, we are stronger than when we stand alone.
And from Denmark and Sweden came three outstanding female opera singers, whose tones, and dramatic intensity moved the audience profoundly. Their offerings were songs and arias from Schubert, Verdi, Dvorák and Sibelius. An international bright star of a soprano who recently retired from the Royal Danish Opera; a fantastic mezzosoprano with roots in Hungary and Turkey, who is also a member of the Middle East Peace Orchestra; and a soprano, Leena, we have heard for many years blossoming into a truly magnificent artist. The first two were accompanied by an extremely talented young Danish woman pianist, and the later by our Benjamin.
He, and his mother Anika, poignantly played Beethoven’s Romance for violin and piano, continuing the legacy bequeathed by their ancestor from Hungary.
For the finale, the musicians sang Verdi’s song of freedom, “Va, pensiero,” with the addition of four members of the Schiller Institute’s future chorus. See the program at: www.schillerinstitut.dk/si/?p=17637
And the people were uplifted, with each presentation by itself, and with the succession of one piece of music, or dance, after the other, one country after another, traditional music in dialogue with Classical music, weaving a tapestry of sound, sight and delight.
And the people were asked to be in contact with us, and to consider joining the Schiller Institute’s chorus, some of whom wrote that they would.
A musical testament to the paradox of the unity and diversity mankind, expressed by human creativity, and a powerful statement of the dialogue of cultures was declaimed.
The Schiller Institute in Denmark
The Russian House
The China Culture Center
Anika Telmányi Lylloff, violinist
Benjamin Telmányi Lylloff, pianist, Danmark
Christine Raft, pianist, Danmark (not shown in the video. She accompanied Idil Alpsoy and Gitta-Maria Sjöberg.)
Feride Istogu Gillesberg, sopran, albansk bosat i Danmark
Fred Kwaku, pianist, Ghana
Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, sopran, Sverige/Danmark. Sweden/Denmark (not shown in the video. She sang Rusalka’s Song to the Moon by Dvořák accompanied by Christine Raft )
Idil Alpsoy, sopran, Sverig/Danmark, Sweden, Denmark (not shown in the video. She sang songs from Sibelius’ Op.37 and 88, accompanied by Christine Raft.)
Isaac Kwaku, sanger, Ghana
Kai Gao, sanger, fløjtenist, Kina
Leena Malkki, sopran, Sverige
Sarah Noor Komarudin, danser, Indonesien
Valerij Likhachev, baryton, Rusland
Svetit Mesjac, russisk børneorkester/ Russian childrens orchestra
Schiller Instituttets kor/chorus
Jelena Nielsen, Russisk-Dansk Dialog
Tom Gillesberg, formand, Schiller Instituttet, Danmark
Denmark: +45 53 57 00 51, 35 43 00 33, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.schillerinstitut.dk, www.schillerinstitut.dk