According to me

We need music to survive

People used it to get through Nazi P.O.W. camps and 9/11. It helps heal us.

By Karl Paulnack
from the June 4, 2009 edition

BOSTON – One of my parents’ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not value me as a musician. I remember my mother’s reaction when I announced my decision to study music instead of medicine: “You’re wasting your SAT scores!” My parents love music, but at the time they were unclear about its value.
The confusion is understandable: We put music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper. But music often has little to do with entertainment. Quite the opposite.
The ancient Greeks had a fascinating way of articulating how music works. In their quadrivium – geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music – astronomy and music are two sides of the same coin. Astronomy describes relationships between observable, external, permanent objects.
Music illuminates relationships between invisible, internal, transient objects. I imagine us having internal planets, constellations of complicated thoughts and feelings. Music finds the invisible pieces inside our hearts and souls and helps describe the position of things inside us, like a telescope that looks in rather than out.
In June 1940, French composer Olivier Messiaen was captured by the Germans and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. There, he finished a quartet for piano, cello, violin, and clarinet, and performed it, with three other imprisoned musicians, for the inmates and guards of that camp. The piece (“Quartet for the End of Time”) is arguably one of the greatest successes in the history of music.
Given what we have since learned about life under Nazi occupation, why would anyone write music there? If you’re just trying to stay alive, why bother with music? And yet – even from concentration camps themselves, we have surviving evidence of poetry, music, and visual art – many people made art. Why?
Art must be, somehow, essential for life. In fact, art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are; art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning.”
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a resident of Manhattan. Later that day I reached a new understanding of my art. Given the day’s events, the idea of playing the piano seemed absurd, disrespectful, and pointless. Amid ambulances, firefighters, and fighter jets, I heard an inner voice ask: “Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment?”
Then I saw how we survived. The first group activity in my neighborhood that night was singing. People sang. They sang around firehouses; they sang “We Shall Overcome,” “America the Beautiful,” “The Star-Spangled Banner”; they sang songs learned in elementary school, which some hadn’t sung since then.
Within days, we gathered at Lincoln Center for the Brahms Requiem. Along with firefighters and fighter jets, artists were “first responders” in this disaster, too. The military secured our airspace, but musicians led the recovery. In measuring the revival of New York, the return of Broadway – another art form – was as significant a milestone as the reopening of the stock markets.
I now understand that music is not part of “arts and entertainment.” It’s not a luxury, something we fund from budget leftovers. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of things, a way to express feelings when we have no words, a way to understand things with our hearts when we cannot grasp them with our minds. Music is the language we choose when we are speechless.
Imagine a graduation with absolutely no music – or a wedding, a presidential inauguration, or a service celebrating the life and death of a close friend – imagine these with no music whatsoever. What’s missing – entertainment? Hardly.
What’s missing is the capacity to meaningfully experience these events, as though eating great food without tasting it. Music functions as a container for experience – it augments capacity to grasp complex things. Without music, the events of our lives slip like water through cupped hands. Music increases our capacity to hold life experiences, to celebrate them, to survive them.
The performance I think of as my most important concert took place in a nursing home in a small Midwestern town. I was playing with a dear friend of mine, a violinist. We began with Aaron Copland’s “Sonata,” which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young pilot who was shot down during the war.
Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. After we finished, we mentioned that the piece was dedicated to a downed pilot. The man became so disturbed he had to leave the auditorium, but showed up backstage afterward, tears and all, to explain himself.
He told us that during World War II, as a pilot, he was in an aerial combat situation where one of his team’s planes was hit. He watched his friend bail out and his parachute open. But the Japanese planes returned and machine-gunned across the parachute chords, separating the parachute from the pilot. He then watched his friend drop away into the ocean, lost. He said he had not thought about that for years, but during that first piece of music we played, this memory returned to him so vividly that it was as though he was reliving it.
How did Copland manage to capture that picture of internal planets so clearly?
People walk into concert halls as they walk into emergency rooms, in need of healing. They may bring a broken body to a hospital, but they often bring with them to the concert a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again depends partly on how well musicians do their craft.
A musician is more of a paramedic than an entertainer. I’m not interested in entertaining you; I’m interested in keeping you alive. Fully alive. We’re a lot like cardiac surgeons; we hold people’s hearts in our hands every day. We just use different instruments.
What should we expect from young people who choose a future in music? Frankly, I expect them to save the planet.
If there is a future wave of wellness, of harmony, of peace, an end to war, mutual understanding, equality, fairness, I don’t expect it to come from a government, a military force, or a corporation.
If there is a future of peace for humankind, if we are to have an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do.
As we did in the Nazi camps and on the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.
Karl Paulnack is a pianist and director of the music division at the Boston Conservatory. This essay is adapted from a welcome speech he gave to incoming freshman.


Omaggi resi a Michael Jackson

from BBC NEWS Friday, 26 June 2009
Quincy Jones: ‘He became a giant’Family, friends, colleagues and admirers have been paying tribute to Michael Jackson, following the announcement of the star’s death at the age of 50.JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHERJermaine Jackson announces his brother’s death”My brother, the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson passed away on Thursday June 25th, 2009 at 2.26pm. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home.”Upon arriving at the hospital, at approximately 1:14 pm (2014 GMT), a team of doctors including emergency physicians and cardiologists attempted to resuscitate him. For periods of more than one hour. They were unsuccessful.”Our family requests that the media please respects our privacy at this tough time.”And may Allah be with you Michael, always. Love you.”ELIZABETH TAYLOR, ACTRESS“My heart … my mind … are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can’t imagine life without him. We had so much in common and we had such loving fun together.”I was packing up my clothes to go to London for his opening when I heard the news. I still can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it. It can’t be so.”LIZA MINNELLI, SINGER AND ACTRESS“I’m devastated. He was a dear, dear friend. All I can tell you, and I’m so upset, is that he was a wonderful man, a really nice, wonderful man.”He was a genius talent and I will miss him until the day I go.”MADONNA, SINGER“I can’t stop crying over the sad news. I’ve always admired Michael Jackson – the world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever.”My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless.”BEYONCE KNOWLES, SINGER“The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. … I love you Michael.”DIANA ROSS, SINGER“I can’t stop crying, this is too sudden and shocking. I am unable to imagine this. My heart is hurting. I am in prayer for his kids and the family.”CELINE DION, SINGER“I am shocked. I am overwhelmed by this tragedy. Michael Jackson has been an idol for me all my life.”He was not only a talented person, but he was unique – a genius. It’s such a loss. It feels like when Kennedy died, when Elvis died. My sympathy goes to the family. It’s a big loss and it’s not even sinking in right now.”URI GELLER, FRIENDUri Geller says his friend Michael Jackson ‘went through hell'”I’m just devastated, very, very sad. I pray that his soul is up there now. I’m still trying to hold on to the glimmer that it is not true. It is too surreal for me to absorb that Michael is no longer with us.”Michael was in good shape because he was practising, he was training, he was rehearsing for the shows. Michael was careful with what he ate, he was just fine. Last time I heard of what he was doing, he was in great shape. And this is why I’m so absolutely shocked by this news.”CHER, SINGER“I’m having a million different reactions I didn’t expect I would feel.”He was a great singer – God gives you certain gifts, and this child was just an extraordinary child touched by this ability. He could sing like nobody else and he was able to connect with people.”QUINCY JONES, MUSIC PRODUCER“I’m absolutely devastated at this news. I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together and allowed us to do what we could do through the 80s.”To this day that music is played in every corner of the world, and the reason is because he had it all – talent, grace and professionalism. I’ve lost my little brother today and part of my soul has gone with him.”LISA MARIE PRESLEY, JACKSON’S EX-WIFE“I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible.I am heartbroken for his children, who I know were everything to him, and for his family.This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me.”LENNY KRAVITZ, SINGER[Photo]Lenny Kravitz has worked with Jackson”There will never be another talent like Michael Jackson.”He was the first live performer I ever saw. I got to see him at Madison Square Garden when I was eight. If not for him, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”He gave me joy as a child and showed me the way to go. He was music. Period.May you rest in peace sweet Michael. You gave us all you had to give.”JOHN LANDIS, THRILLER VIDEO DIRECTORI was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure.”

REV AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER“As a friend of Michael’s for the past 35 years, I call on people from around the world to pray for him and his family.”P DIDDY, SINGER“Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life. He made me believe in magic. I will miss him.”JANE FONDA, ACTRESS“I am stunned. My friend, Michael Jackson, is dead. He lived with me for a week on the ‘Golden Pond’ set after Thriller.ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR“He was one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry.”Our hearts go out to the Jackson family, Michael’s children and to his fans worldwide.”USHER, SINGER“My heart goes out to the King of Pop and his family.”PAUL GAMBACCINI, MUSIC JOURNALISTPaul Gambaccini: “Michael Jackson was the greatest showman we had ever seen””Definitely one of the greatest stars of recorded music. There is no doubt of that. He would be in the top 10 of all time, regardless of who the other nine people were.”But you also have to remember that he went through different stages and owed some of his popularity to collaborators – Quincy Jones, with whom he did the great trilogy of albums: Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad.”Paul Gambaccini’s tribute in fullBRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER“I was so excited to see his tour in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly into see him.”He’s been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I’m devastated that he’s gone.”DIONNE WARWICK, SINGER“We have lost an icon in our industry and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family and children in this hour of sorrow.”He will live on in my memory, and most definitely through the music he shared with so many.”WYCLEF JEAN, SINGER“Michael Jackson was my musical god. He made me believe that all things are possible, through real and positive music.”He can live forever. I love Michael Jackson. God bless him.”JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, SINGER[Photo]Justin Timberlake has been compared to Michael Jackson”We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only pop music, but of all music. I can’t find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael’s passing.”He has been an inspiration to multiple generations, and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him onstage and all of the things I learned about music from him, and the time we spent together.”My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.”DONNA SUMMER, SINGER“I’ve known Michael for many years and we’ve done many different things together over the years.”I know his family and it’s just a total shock. I don’t even have words to say. I mean I’ll miss Michael, the world will miss Michael and I’m sure the world is in a state of grief right now.”I will personally miss him, I will miss his light, I will miss his star, I will miss who he has caused other people to become because of his greatness. He upped the standard.”MARIAH CAREY, SINGER“I am heart broken. My prayers go out to the Jackson family, and my heart goes out to his children. Let us remember him for his unparalleled contribution to the world of music, his generosity of spirit in his quest to heal the world, and the joy he brought to is millions of devoted fans throughout the world.”I feel blessed to have performed with him several times and to call him my friend. No artist will ever take his place. His star will shine forever.”NE-YO, SINGER“Michael Jackson will live forever through the thing that he put all of his life energy into: his music.”Long live Michael Jackson.”MC HAMMER, RAPPER“I will be mourning my friend, brother, mentor and inspiration. He gave me and my family hope. I would never have been me without him.”LL COOL J, RAPPER“He was one of my childhood idols. I salute you King of Pop. You made the whole world moonwalk together.”RUSSELL SIMMONS, FOUNDER OF DEF-JAM RECORDS“Michael Jackson was my generation’s most iconic cultural hero. Courageous, unique and incredibly talented. He’ll be missed greatly.”BERRY GORDY, US RECORD PRODUCERMotown founder Berry Gordy: Jackson was like son”I am shocked beyond words. It’s like a dream, a bad dream. This cannot be. How can Michael Jackson not be here?”As a kid, Michael was always beyond his years. He had a knowingness about him that was incredible.”Michael was and will remain one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived.”He was exceptional, artistic and original. He gave the world his heart and soul through his music.MATT FIDDES, FORMER BODYGUARD“He’s the most misunderstood man in world. Everyone thought he was this weird freak but when you’re with him he’s as normal as everyone else. I don’t think he felt he was as famous as everyone else thought, he didn’t know any different.”He was a very caring guy who would go out of his way to help the sick. One night in London he wanted to see some homeless people. He sent them loads of pizzas in secret. The guy had a good heart.”We used to dress him up and sneak out of hotel room and do normal things in shops. People wouldn’t know who he was but we wanted to give him a taste of the real life.”ALICE COOPER, SINGER“Michael Jackson was easily as influential as James Brown, and that’s saying a lot. He was the Fred Astaire of his time.”Nobody moved like Michael, he was truly the King of Pop.”REV JESSE JACKSON, POLITICIAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST“We are out of our joy. He is out of his pain.”He was constantly challenged in the press and all he really wanted to be was the greatest entertainer and he was that.”

My Favorite Things

Ciao,I will be back as soon as possible.
Stay tuned.
L ove & P eace

Ciao a tutti.
Riprendo il mouse finalmente dopo molto tempo passato…. ovviamente a suonare.
Anno nuovo Vita nuova…
Per cominciare,

volevo ringranziare personalmente tutti coloro i quali mi seguono con calore ed affetto.

Grazie per essere venuti così numerosi al Teatro Piccolo Eliseo di Roma in occasione della presentazione ufficiale del mio nuovo disco “According to me”, lo scorso 9 dicembre.

Un saluto speciale vorrei inviarlo alle molte persone che a causa del “sold out” non hanno potuto assistervi.

Ed in apertura di pagina il nuovo cd.

Luigi Pignatiello Trio According to me,
che mi vede in sinergia con Guido Aulisi al basso e Ottavio Saviano alle percussioni

Ma ho altre sorprese.

Ecco due foto che mi ritraggono con Jeanne Carroll in studio, durante una pausa delle prove del concerto.

Ed ecco un link dal quale potrete scaricare una parte dell’intervista – concerto realizzata per Rai News 24 il 26 dicembre 2006.
La trasmissione si chiama Tempi Dispari ed è sapientemente condotta dal bravissimo Carlo De Blasio.

La puntata che mi vede ospite è quella dedicata al grande ed indimenticabile James Brown.
Buona visione

In ultimo
per tutti coloro i quali fossero interessati ad avere i miei Cd,
potete anche chiederli direttamente via mail a:

Vi preannuncio che presto il sito avrà una nuova veste e sono in preparazione
altre sorprese audio-video.

Vi aspetto

Buona vita a tutti

Luigi Pignatiello

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