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Music Knows No Borders

A new lens for a time-honored concept
The Soraya programming
Thor Steingraber, Executive Director
February 9, 2017

Martha Graham Dance Company | Photo by Luis Luque

Music is timeless. It unites across time and geography. It flows, permeates, and transcends.  Rhythm is elemental, and melody is universal.  Music does not discriminate.

Some borders are ancient – forged in mountains or carved by rivers.  Other borders are manmade—ephemeral, arbitrary, even disputed.

But music knows no borders.

Latin rhythms were born from African beats. Friday jazz descends from Sunday worship. The Russian shtetl and the Appalachian barn are not so distant. Radio call letters cannot entirely divide classical music from country. And even the most sacred music can be non-denominational.

Music thrives in Los Angeles at the intersection of global cultures, at the crossroads of three continents, and in the creative capital of the world. At The Soraya, we give voice to the musical diasporas. This is our foremost value and the underpinning of our programming.

In the 21st-century networked world, these artists not only preserve and perpetuate their own cultures, but they also sing, play, and dance a fusion of many worlds. They look backward and forward.  They embrace a complex web of cultures that extends from nearby neighbors to distant strangers, from the traditional to the experimental.

THE SORAYA is committed to a stridently nonpolitical idea—the concert hall is an inclusive place. After all, ears know no borders. Hands clap and feet stomp regardless of nation of origin, religion, or cultural background. The communal joy of music and dance is immediate, intergenerational, and accessible.

Amir ElSaffar Photo Credit: White Cube

THE SORAYA shares these values with all its partners—artists, funders, peer organizations, audience members, the CSUN community, and its K-12 educational partners.

When water divides us, music compels us to build bridges. When mountains divide us, music guides us as we climb. When what separates us overshadows what we have in common, music inspires us to play louder, clearer, and in unison.

Soweto Gospel Choir at The Soraya | Photo: Luis Luque

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