Past Program

Apr 02 - Apr 06, 2011

Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music

Session 479

It is time to stand up for the right of all for access to music education.

This was the consensus reached at the recent Salzburg Global Seminar session “Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music” and articulated in a statement The Value of Music: The Right to Play released by the session participants from more than twenty countries around the globe. The statement will be shared with political leaders, opinion formers, funding bodies and decision makers in the sphere of education to focus attention and stir debate.

Supported by The Edward T. Cone Foundation, this session brought together fifty-four leaders from the world of music, including presenters, performers, composers, researchers, policy makers, scientists, and scholars to explore music’s transformative powers and shed new light on ways to benefit from its instrumental value. There was a sense at the gathering that now is a moment of change and challenge in the world of music. Findings from this session are meant to fuel the ongoing conversation about that change.


Roundtable Interview Description

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, director of the Barbican Centre in London, hosted a roundtable discussion on the power of music to transform individuals, societies, and cultures. He spoke with Ken MacLeod, who is implementing the El Sistema model in Canada, Juan Antonio Cuellar Sáenz, a composer and director of Fundacion Batuta, a music education program in Columbia which has reached more than 40,000 underprivileged young people, and Aneliya Dimitrova, a manager at Justin Time Records and administrative director of the Montreal Chamber Music Society.

Concerts Description

Concert pianist Alexandros Kapelis is part Greek, part Peruvian and lives between New York City and Brussels. He has performed as a recitalist and soloist in the United States and throughout Europe. He recently premiered a program surveying Greek myth as a source of inspiration in the solo piano repertoire. His recital for fellow participants in the Salzburg session included "Huit Danses des Iles Grecques” by the Greek composer Kostantinidis, Clementi’s Sonata in G Minor “Didone Abbandonata,” and his own transcription for solo piano of Liszt’s “Orphee.” Click here for the Concert Program. Click here for the concert program.

Piano Puzzlers Description

“Piano Puzzlemaker” Bruce Adolphe and Performance Today host Fred Child brought their weekly radio program to the Salzburg Global Seminar for this session. Participants gathered one evening to play Adolphe’s variation of “name that tune and composer” in which he re-writes a popular melody disguised in the style of a classical composer and challenged the participants to identify both. See if you can guess the right answer, too.


Music moves something deep inside of us. We have all sensed that phenomenal, almost indescribable power of music: it soothes, delights, agitates, unsettles, transforms, energizes, and inspires. Music expresses the inexpressible and connects things that cannot be connected in any other way. It transcends linguistic, cultural, and man-made boundaries; it enriches through its collective and communal qualities. This wonderfully transformative power can and often has been put to work for the greater good. Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Gilbert Levine's Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah, José Antonio Abreu's El Sistema music education project in Venezuela, and Bono's humanitarian initiatives are just some of the better-known examples of "music with a mission." 

Much can be learned from these and comparable efforts. It is the goal of this Salzburg session to bring together musicians, social change-makers, representatives of the philanthropic community, cultural policymakers, and scholars interested in the manifestations of all types of music in all cultures to explore the transformative power of music and shed new light on ways to exploit - in the most positive sense - music's instrumental value. Together participants will grapple with these and other questions: When and how has music played a role in social and political change? How has music raised awareness of social injustices? How can music bridge cultural differences? How can music help to unleash the talents of marginalized youth? What role can new technologies play in this process? What contributions can music make to peace-building and reconciliation efforts? And, finally, how can we maximize these positive impacts of music?

The Salzburg Global Seminar’s deep appreciation is owed to The Edward T. Cone Foundation for making Session 479: Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music possible. Additional support was provided by The Nippon Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Seminar is indebted to the Session Co-Chairs, Sarah Lutman and Nicholas Kenyon, for donating their time and expertise. The Seminar gratefully acknowledges the assistance of all participants whose diverse experience and ideas informed the session and the report.


Duffie Adelson
Executive Director, Merit School of Music, Chicago
Bruce Adolphe
Resident Lecturer & Director of Family Concerts, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York; Composer-in-Residence, The Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Piano Puzzler on Performance Today, American
Peter Alward
Director, Salzburg Easter Festival
Vera Brandes
Alan Brown
Researcher and Management Consultant, WolfBrown, San Francisco
Fred Child
Host, Performance Today, American Public Media; Announcer/Commentator, Live from Lincoln Center, New York
Mark Gillespie
Artistic Manager, YOA Orchestra of the Americas, Arlington, Virginia; Co-Founder, Filarmónica Joven de Colombia
Hans Graf
Music Director, Houston Symphony, Houston
Pierre Jalbert
Composer, Professor of Composition and Music Theory, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Houston
Alexandros Kapelis
(Recitalist), Pianist, New York and Brussels
Ulrich Leisinger
Director, Research Department, International Mozarteum Foundation, Salzburg
Celia Lowenstein
Film producer and director, New York
Stephen McAdams
Canada Research Chair in Music Perception and Cognition, CIRMMT and Department of Music Research, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal
Martin Neary
Organist and Choral Conductor; former Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey, London
Julian Philips
Composer, Head of Composition, Guildhall School of Music, London
John Sloboda
Research Professor, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London; Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Keele Univeristy
Charles Kaye
Director and General Manager, World Orchestra for Peace, London


Session Report

For a PDF version click here

Summaries: Plenary Sessions, Working Groups, and Informal Sessions

For a PDF version click here

Statement - The Value of Music: The Right to Play

For a PDF version in English click here

El Valor de la Música: El Derecho a Participar

For a PDF version of the Statement, in Spanish click here

List of Participants

For an alphabetical listing of participants click here