Possibly not since 1941 when a group of prisoners formed a prisoner orchestra at Auschwitz has music touched so many lives of the attacked. The original group of seven played first with instruments seized from nearby towns.
Today, a single musician, a pianist, is working to bring comfort to cities and towns struck by hatred and violence.
Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer and photojournalist and is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @ Journey_America.
As people gathered outside the Dallas Police Department, they were caught by surprise as a man rolled up on a bicycle towing a piano. The mystery man didn’t say a word, just started playing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
One witness told reporters that the pianist left without speaking. Other observers pointed out that Davide Martello, known as Klavierkunst, identified himself earlier that morning.
Martello tweeted, “the colors of my keys inspired me to visit Dallas today.”
Martello has brought his music to great tragedies before. Last year the German pianist performed “Imagine” in Paris following the terrorist attacks.
According to Martello’s website http://klavierkunst.com/ , he desires to play “in every capital of the world.” He has already performed in Istanbul’s Gezi Park in 2013 and in Kiev during the Maidan revoluation of 2014.
During the Gezi Park protests, a concert was held in Taksim Square. Thousands listened as the evening passed peacefully. The next day though the police confiscated the piano.
Martello, 35, was born in Lorrachin, southwest of Baden-Wurttemberg. A German pianist of Italian descent, Martello was raised in Tuningen between the Black Forest and Swabian Jura.
Martello, who has previously been recognized by the European parliament for his contributions to European cooperation, is known for visiting conflict zones to play his movable grand piano — which he also built.
The pianist was watching France & German match when the explosions started at the Stade de France. He sensed immediately there would be an outpouring of grief mixed with fear blended in terror. “I knew I had to do something,” Martello told CNN. “I wanted to be there and comfort; offer a sign of hope.”
Martello recognizes that there is a limit to what he can do with his piano, but he hopes to bring at least inspiration to places still bloodied with hate. “I can’t bring people back, but my music can inspire them,” he said.
“When people are inspired, they can do anything, That’s why I played Imagine.”
Martello descibes many of the scenes in which he has played as shocking. The day after the attack at the concern tall, Martello found blood on his piano from the night’s attck. “I got to the end of ‘Imagine’ and couldn’t go on,” he said. “Even if I wanted; it was just too emotional.”