For world-renowned concert pianist Marvin Goldstein and vocal soloist Vanessa Joy, performing music is much more than a passion — it’s a way to bridge the gap between cultures and beliefs.
“Music is void of politics, it’s void of religion, it’s void of ethnicity and it’s full of spirituality,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein has devoted his life to sharing music with people. Since 1995, he has performed all around the world for his Peace with Music Foundation, whose goal is to bridge the cultural, religious and political boundaries between people around the world through musical performances. These concerts also give young performers the opportunity to serve others by sharing their musical gifts. The hope is to bring light and peace to the minds and hearts of the people who attend, opening doors and allowing people to interact in a special, more unifying way.
Goldstein and Joy have performed their “Concerts for Peace” on three continents, including concerts in the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia; the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt for the Daniel Pearl Music Days; the National Hall in St. Lucia, West Indies; the islands of Hawaii; and many countries in Europe, Central America and Canada. They successfully performed concerts in Israel and Jordan for Jewish and Arabic factions together, and have also performed locally in the Tabernacle and Temple Square.
Goldstein said these concerts often feature performers from the direct localities and give them a unique opportunity to communicate and interact peacefully with people they wouldn’t normally interact with offstage.
During the concert they did in Cairo, Joy said their sound technician and the sound board couldn’t speak a word of English, and the language barrier was a significant challenge. However, the musicians knew how to read music and play their instruments, so they were able to play together.
“We couldn’t really speak but we were communicating together through music,” Joy said.
Both Goldstein and Joy said that performing in this capacity has been rewarding because it helps people recognize the powerful affect music has on peacekeeping in the world.
“Music is taken for granted, its not just entertainment, it’s not just the icing on the cake, it is the cake,” Goldstein said.
In May, Goldstein and Joy had the opportunity to perform for wounded American soldiers at a United Service Organization concert for the Wounded Warrior Center at the Ramstein Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany.
“It was a huge honor to be part of entertaining and increasing the morale, especially of the wounded warriors and troops that are critically injured and trying to find a place away from home that’s like home,” Goldstein said.
For Joy, the highlight of the concert was singing with one of the soldiers. After singing some fun songs, she said she was able to sing a few patriotic songs for the soldiers and received a standing ovation from them.
“I knew that they knew that I was proud of them,” Joy said. “I really enjoyed it. I felt like a tiny piece of me was able to give a teenie weenie bit back.”
Goldstein and Joy will be teaching several classes during Education Week, alongside Janice Kapp Perry. Their classes will be focused on discovering the divine nature of music, the power and glory of music as well as the spirituality and simplicity of the hymns and children’s songs of the LDS church.
“Our purpose for coming to BYU Education Week, is to do more than just entertain. It is to move people to the understanding of the role of music and peace in the world,” Goldstein said. “We bring that perspective of the commonality of music to the BYU campus so people can understand the power of music and how we need to utilize it so much more in our lives.”