Born in New Jersey and raised in Encino, Daniel Pearl would have been 51 years old last week. But Pearl, a tremendously accomplished journalist and reporter, was murdered 12 years ago in Pakistan by Islamist thugs, the first American journalist to be criminally killed in this century’s unending perfect storm of Middle Eastern wars and conflict.
His professional admirers knew him as an able and fast-ascending newspaperman whose career had taken him from small town coverage in western Massachusetts to the chiefdom of the Wall Street Journal’s Asian Bureau. Along the way, he’d broken major stories and spoke truth to power in former Yugoslavia, Africa, and South Asia, among other places, far and near.
What many colleagues did not know about him was that Daniel had a strong musical background. He was an accomplished violinist who had studied with the former concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and, in the course of his travels, made music with people he met all over the world.
This side of Pearl is now widely known to America's young musicians — and for that matter, the world — because his parents have seen fit to mark their son’s memory with an ongoing concert series, Daniel Pearl World Music Days now take place all over the globe. There have been more than 11,000 of them since his demise. The concerts intend to promote the human harmony that is the opposite of the kind of mindless, hate-filled conflict that killed Daniel Pearl, along with so many others.
One such concert is coming up Oct. 26 in Santa Monica. It will be mostly performed and organized by young people.
"The program and the concert in general is very important to me and everyone involved because I feel as though it is rewarding to think that a group of students organized this event.’’ said Tyler Inn, one of this Westside event’s planners. “The inspiring thing to see is that all these young artists come together to spread Daniel Pearls' vision: to promote peace and unity through the expression of the arts. Especially with what is happening in the news today, the concert is even more relevant."
The organizers stress that the event is an awareness raiser, not a fund-raising occasion; they call it “using the power of music to promote cross-cultural understanding.”
Many of the performers are students from local high schools and independent schools. The music ranges from classical to pop to jazz to dance to Taiko drumming. The program includes some unusual selections, including the rarely-heard Dvorak trio for viola and violins, and the daunting Rachmaninoff G minor cello sonata.
Others range from Beethoven to Bernstein. And Dan Pearl’s parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, will be on hand to speak of their son and his heritage.
The Westside event will be put on by the Music Students Service League, and will be held on Sunday, October 26, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. — about two weeks after what would have been Daniel’s 51st birthday — at The Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School, Herb Alpert Education Village, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica.