Student concert at Yale salutes global freedom movements

Yale junior Nathaniel Meyer has organized a concert of classical music on May 16, paying homage to the spirit of freedom movements around the world, such as the Arab Spring uprisings.

Free and open to the public, the student-performed evening of music by Mahler and Beethoven will take place at Battell Chapel, corner of Elm and College streets, at 6:30 p.m.

Impassioned by the belief that music expresses our highest ideals, Meyer — an award-winning trumpet player and founder of a youth orchestra in Belmont, Massachusetts — says a Yale course on non-violence taught by Jonathan Schell was the inspiration for organizing the concert.

Schell, a fellow at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, made his students aware of their responsibility to bear witness to the history-altering spirit of the times, exemplified by the 2011 revolution at Tahrir Square in Egypt, notes Meyer.

The concert, which will feature Beethoven’s “Egmont” overture and Fifth Symphony as well as the adagio movement of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, will “raise awareness of the enormity of these historic movements and help us remember the sacrifice of the protesters,” says Meyer.

As part of the event, art historian Alexander Nemerov will discuss the power of art to express humanity’s common yearning for freedom.

In addition to fellow musicians at Yale, Meyer tapped students from Hartt School and other schools throughout the Northeast to play in the ad hoc orchestra.

“Music is the most powerful language of communication, and we want to show that we’re passionate about this moment,” says Meyer.