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Posted On: 23 March 2016 01:21 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:55 pm

Meeting Elvis in Qatar

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Recently, Weill Cornell professors got together to host a Van Gogh Live Piano Performance & several Green Screen Film Productions. Does that sound exciting to you? Well, the event was wonderful, so much so, that I needed to write about it, but will likely never give the event full justice.

Dr. Alan S. Weber presented music’s presence in Islamic history and music’s role in the modern-day Islamic world. One of the most stand-out moments in the presentation occurred when Dr. Weber shared a picture of two Turkish cardiologists playing instruments at the bedside of a cardiac patient in order for the patient to benefit from the physical rewards of listening to music.

Mohamud A. Verjee shared a personal creation of which he paired a dialogue between a doctor-patient with music. It created a heightened emotional reaction to the piece and the music assisted to tell the story, or better yet, feel the story. Dr. Verjee was passionate about his work and creating a beautiful trio of music, story, and emotion.

Dr. Rodney created a presentation of how music influenced his life, and what an interesting upbringing this man shared! He shared how music influenced his youth, music’s affect on current political issues, and he shared some Elvis with the crowd. For the first time ever, I watched a few full minutes of Elvis performing, I grew up in Canada, where my entire generation made fun of the singer … and all of his fans. Meanwhile, most of generation Y didn’t even know anything about Elvis, beyond “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog”, and no other lyrics to the song.

After watching Elvis perform (beyond silly one-liners), I was finally introduced to the swagger and charm the singer exudes. I quite quickly realized that I, after watching only a mere few minutes, was an official Elvis fan, and quite possibly... in love.

Finally, there came a talk and performance from Vincent Corver, an International Award-Winning Concert Pianist & Producer who was Pre-Nominated for the 2013 Grammy Awards.I had not known the pianist or his work till this night. Quite frankly, music had always been something that I had listened to in my car or to work-out to, until this evening.

I was expecting a nice piano performance, which turned out to be highly underestimated. As Mr. Corver played the piano, a piece of artwork painted by Van Gogh slowly came to life on the screen. The unfortunate aspect of writing about music is that one can never truly give the artist justice. During the performance – I (who is not the greatest music enthusiast on the planet – likely Dr. Shark is) – was wiping tears and trying to remain discreet while surrounded by an auditorium full of strangers.

I noticed the same reaction in males and females throughout the audience. It’s one thing when emotion is provoked during cinema or theatre productions – where you relate to the story and feel the characters’ pain or emotion. Having such emotion produced while enjoying the music was foreign and, until now, I cannot explain why those of us in the audience felt and connected so strongly to the music; but, we surely did. One thing remained evidently clear, Vincent Corver is a pianist who performs not only to appease the human ear; but, somehow, he connects to the human soul as well.