Tearing Down The Berlin Wall Again
As a young child, I did not remember a time when there was no Berlin Wall. Terms such as Iron Curtain, East Berlin, and Soviets were a part of everyday life.
Now, generations of Eastern Europeans know of the Berlin Wall only from history books and conversations with those who lived through the nearly 30 years the wall existed.
Though Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on Christmas Day, 1989, it was not the first musical performance after the wall came down. Just days after the wall fell, Daniel Barenboim conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in a concert for those who had been living in East Berlin.
Now, 20 years later, there is another wall being built in Berlin, but this time it is being erected to be toppled. (“Berlin Builds a New Wall to See How the Dominoes Fall
20 Years After the Original Was Destroyed, A Styrofoam Version Is Readied for Toppling. Wall Street Journal)
As part of that November 9 event, Barenboim returns once again, to conduct a concert in front of the Brandenburg Gate, this time to mark several anniversaries: the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the 60th anniversary of the ratification of Germany’s constitution following World War II among them.
November 9th has played a complicated role in Germany’s history.
I continue to be amazed at how music unites us. I am so grateful to those musicians, composers, teachers, and all who continue to shine a musical candle in the darkness. Let us hope that the voices of Beethoven et al. are never silenced and that, rather than building walls, we begin building bridges.