Russian and American musicians came together at the Washington National Cathedral in the US capital for a Concert of Unity aimed at celebrating cultural cooperation.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — “Concert for Unity”, held on Monday at the world’s sixth largest cathedral — the Washington National Cathedral — brought together Maestro Valery Gergiev, Artistic and General Director of Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre and internationally celebrated pianist Denis Matsuev, alongside the National Cathedrals choir, organist and carillonneur.
“Tonight we are not different — we are united by our passion for music,” Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said at the start of the concert on Monday. “Music is a universal language that all of us understand in our souls.”
Guests of the event lit candles in a sign of unity, as organizers hailed the concert as an opportunity for fostering cross-cultural understanding.
“We meet tonight to appreciate each other’s unique, as well as shared, cultures in this house of prayer for all people,” Event Chair Susan Carmel Lehrman said in an opening address to the audience.
Maestro Gergiev underlined the importance of such cultural events at times of political discord.
“Today, in our turbulent times, it is more important than ever to make attempts to improve the relations between our great nations with the establishment of friendship between our peoples, and we hope that our plea will be heard,” Gergiev said.
Mark Farr, president of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, noted that such people-to-people cultural exchanges help generate goodwill and understanding as well as facilitate dialogue.