Beginning in May, I will walk nearly 600 miles on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route beginning in France and crossing Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. I will carry my cello, performing and recording Bach's Suites in ancient churches along the way.
I went to public school, and remember being assigned to read a few Shakespeare plays, a work or two of the ancient Greeks and several of the notable "coming of age" novels of the 20th century. But never once was I told to listen to a Beethoven symphony.
He loves Bach's music so much that he often fantasizes about meeting him, learning to play organ with him, and substituting his current babysitter-slash-piano coach (a fellow pianist who thinks Bach is the greatest) with Bach himself.
On Thursday night November 14 at the Notre Dame Basilica in historic Old Montréal, the Leipzig St. Thomas Boys Choir, 40 strong, will celebrate the Seventh Montreal Bach Festival by performing in Canada for the first time in its 800-year old history.
Music is a language of energy, a "vibe" of emotions and joy. It speaks to our core desires and feelings. It spans language barriers and political borders, making it a powerful means through which humans can connect.
I discovered trance by accident. I was at a bar with some friends, and "Intense" came on. The violin caught my attention, and it suddenly hit me: This is the structure of a baroque concerto. Bach's music and van Buuren's trance compositions are essentially the same thing.
Two new books share an important attribute -- an unshakable belief that Bach, Mozart and Schubert elevate the human spirit and have the power to comfort us, to inspire us and to overcome even the greatest challenges.
It's a moment that calls for some music, something that will calm, edify, enthrall, engage, distract and transport the little darlings to sleepy-land, so that the adults might move off to an appropriately distant room and watch Game of Thrones.
The pipe organ has always been an evolving beast, a breathing mechanical thing that has only gotten smarter with time. Once again it emerges as "The King of Instruments," and Christopher Houlihan is its youngest and most promising interpreter.
Many Havanans have found, in these newly reconstructed sites, a place for strolling, taking their children, sitting in the shade of a bougainvillea. What was, a few decades ago, a neighborhood in ruins, today is a true island of comfort and beauty.