Sunday, November 30, 2008

Edvinas Minkstimas makes the world go away at the UN

Edvinas poses for his "paparazzi" during the reception

It was a rare treat to take MetroNorth to Grand Central on Friday to attend Edvinas' recital at the UN. After taking in the beauty of the Hudson and the industrial strength sights along the Harlem River, we left the terminal and headed toward the open sky over the East River. Once past the security check at the UN, a group of us were escorted on a labyrinthine path to the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, exactly like my seventh grade class outing. Below grade, the auditorium felt like a well-appointed cave. The audience was gracious and hushed before the concert began; many muted reunions and whispered "Labas" . My companion and I sat back row center, with a bird's eye view. I watched as acquaintances filed past without seeing us, like a child spying on an adult gala from the top of the stairs.

Once the program began, the world went away. It was boiled down to a young man, familiar yet distinguished by his talent, sitting at his instrument under the spotlight. He introduced each piece with some facts from its history and a brief remark about his connection to the work. He then sat down and paused, creating a moment of silence before stepping over the threshhold of each piece. I had a great view of his hands ranging along the keyboard like they had lives of their own. He played well and succeeded in building a bridge across time and space from the composers' hearts and minds to ours. I was pleased to hear Ciurlionis and Alkan for the first time, and I intend to seek out more of their works.

As Edvinas was taking his bows, this dapper and dignified young gentleman approached the stage and presented him with a bouquet of roses

After the performance I had the opportunity to greet people that I had met at Our Lady of Vilnius, but have not seen for some time. It was a pleasure.

Kudos to the U.S. - Baltic Foundation for sponsoring this event and the patrons and sponsors that helped make it a reality. It was a privilege to participate in this living demonstration of the power of art to transcend and unite at the United Nations.

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