Vangelis: A message of hope
The internationally celebrated Greek composer talks about the role of music in times of chaos, crisis and uncertainty.
In December 2011, leaders from around the world gathered at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations meeting in Doha, a forum meant to encourage dialogue between cultures and people.
The host nation, Qatar, asked Vangelis, the Greek composer, to create the music for the event, which also marked the inauguration of Doha’s cultural village and Greek-style amphitheatre. The event brought together celebrated artists from around the world and his music was written to formulate a message of hope.
Vangelis, one of the world’s most celebrated creators of electronic music and the Oscar-winning composer of the music for Bladerunner and Chariots of Fire, came to a Middle East in the midst of upheaval at a time of financial crisis in his own country.
Al Jazeera’s Tony Harris met the composer to talk about the role of music in our times.
“What we need today more than anything else is to invest in beauty, because beauty is harmony which comes from chaos. But we invest in chaos, because chaos is much more profitable than peace …. Beauty is a kind of safety vault for people. And music as well. I don’t think music is beautiful today, music is just a way to advertise other things because music is very powerful as a force and then through music we can advertise anything we want …. When music becomes a product … something is wrong about that.
…To be interested in education, art, science culture, for me this is the key against the crisis today …. The banking crisis is not as important as the culture crisis. So when you deal with culture I think you can manage the rest easier. All the rest, all the misery comes because we don’t have beauty, you know, the quality of life. And quality of life is not money, quality of life is something else.”
Vangelis also selected some of his music for Al Jazeera to accompany some of the most memorable images from the past year.
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