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Arts and Identity

Flexible context instead of Identity – Giulia Laura Muscarella – ICD Program Coordinator

Giulia contributes to our discussion on the relationship between arts and identity by an example of an art form uncorrelated to identity: classical music. For our introduction: https://artsasculturaldiplomacy.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/weekly-theme-arts-and-identity/

The language of classical or exact music[1] expresses itself through elements universally understandable from a cognitive point of view. For any listener, regardless of nationality, a music developed in a minor mode – the dramatic character- reflects certain emotive feelings opposite from these caused by the major one.

The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and the West-East Divan Orchestra demonstrates the power of this universal language. It can spread over the European context, cross boundaries and become a way to organize a community or even create a dialogue between two cultures in conflict.

This is possible because classical music isn’t the result nor the origin of a certain identity-  except from ethnic music – but it shapes itself in a flexible context always transferring a modern message over centuries. I listen to the music of any composer without thinking that his composition is a product of his identity because it’s irrelevant, it could be an ontological error fragmenting its universal language.

As an evidence of what said before, I put forth a personal experience: the intercultural atmosphere that you can perceive at the Academy of Music of Venice, a city that has formed by connecting the western and the oriental culture. It is natural for a Mongolian cellist, a Serbian pianist or an Italian violinist to perform together the music of a Norwegian composer!

Music crosses the borders and creates new flexible contexts: beyond Schiller’s words, it is not by chance that the European hymn is taken from the Fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven; in a Europe created prior to a European citizen, only music and a revival of European humanism could connect people divided for centuries.


[1] Referring to the fixed rules and extreme rationality at the basis of the harmony, as defined by the pianist Maurizio Pollini

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About icdblogsphereteam

We are the Blogsphere Team of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. We are the interactive part of the web resources of ICD. We spread culture and mutual understanding among cultures through blogs.

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The London Art as Cultural Diplomacy ConferenceAugust 21st, 2013

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