“We would have loved to be with you in person tonight, but circumstances dictate that we send you this blessing from a distance, although we are with you in spirit,” wrote Judea and Ruth Pearl from Los Angeles to Jerome Barry, founder of the Embassy Series, for a concert in memory of Daniel Pearl. But those words could have come from Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan where he resides for eternity in his mausoleum in Karachi.
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state,” Jinnah said in his first presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on Aug. 11, 1947.
So Daniel Pearl’s brutal murder would have Jinnah turning in his grave. For as Daily Dawn — the newspaper founded by Jinnah — noted on Nov. 2, 2013, Karachi had once a thriving Jewish community. A school named after Abraham Robin still exists in “Khamosh” (Silent) Colony in Karachi.
But as Jerome and Lisette Barry are not politicians, it was not a political event but a wonderful musical evening that was held in memory of a Wall Street Journal reporter who was in search of truth. The truth is there was perhaps no better place to be on Nov. 14 than in a quiet room in upper Northwest Washington.
Music lovers came from far and wide to enjoy a stunning performance by accomplished artists Itamar Zorman and Liza Stepanova. Zorman made his debut at the Verbier Festival, which was broadcast live on Espace 2, Switzerland’s main classical music station. Stepanova has performed extensively in Europe and the U.S. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at international festivals in Castleton, La Jolla, Music@Menlo and Davos (Switzerland). Both have appeared at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.
Like other Embassy Series events, the program notes meticulously prepared by Dr. Louis Reith guided the audience through the performance by providing historical notes about legendary composers like Sergei Prokofiev, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Paul Hindemith and Johannes Brahams. As the music flows so does one’s mind and imagination to the times in which these composers lived, their lives, their struggles and inspiration. All together there was a spiritually uplifting feeling with this music in the Abrahamic tradition. And, one came away with a feeling that Jinnah too would have enjoyed this wonderful event that brought humanity together through musical diplomacy.