Music Unites joined with Culture Project on June 30 to present a special New York performance of Twin Spirits to celebrate the 200th birthday of composer Robert Schumann. Taking place at Lincoln Center, the all-star cast included Sting, Trudie Styler, and Joshua Bell with narration by Academy-Award nominee David Strathairn.
This is the second time Music Unites, a non-profit dedicated to keeping music education in New York schools and breaking down genre barriers, has hosted a performance of Twin Spirits. The first was in December 2009 at The Greene Space in conjunction with WQXR and WNYC. For the most recent performance they found the perfect partner in Culture Project, an organization focused on addressing critical human rights issues by creating and supporting artistic work that amplifies marginalized voices, allowing each organization to bolster and support each other's cause.
Twin Spirits is a poetic meditation on the romance between Robert Schumann and his much younger wife Clara Wieck. Sting and Trudie Styler read the couples letters, which chronicle their relationship from first attraction to their eventual marriage and Schumann's descent into madness. Narrated by David Strathairn, the program also featured violinist Joshua Bell, pianists Jeremy Denk and Natasha Paremski, cellist Nina Kotova. Nathan Gunn and Camille Zamora portrayed Robert and Clara in song.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg came out to show his support, thanking Music Unites in a speech for the work they have done keeping music education in New York schools. Also in attendance were Denise Rich, actor Richard Kind, screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, movie producer Bonnie Timmerman, and classical pianist Steven Masi.
"It's always a moving piece. The story is very affecting," Sting told WWD at a reception following the show. "People are always... It's the same result, people are crying. And then they want to go and listen to the music of Schumann again -- both Clara and Robert. So it's been a success."