AGE ART - Science meets classic music
Fasting: awakening the rejuvenation from within
Artists have long been inspired by the Sciences and vice versa. In marking the 10-year anniversary of the MPI AGE, this AGE ART evening illustrated just that. When the two cultures of the Arts and Sciences converge, a wonderful result can emerge.
The evening began seamlessly with Handel’s harp concerto performed by the harpist from the Gürzenich Orchestra, Antonia Schreiber. Handel was a German native who later became a British citizen and composed during the Baroque period, about the same time as JS Bach though their music developed differently. The piece Ms. Schreiber performed is one of his most important concertos in the repertoire. The audience was mesmerized by the magical sound of the harp that packed the hall normally reserved for lectures.
As the title suggests, “Fasting: awakening the rejuvenation from within”, we knew we were just getting in to another intriguing segment of the event. Dr. Valter Longo is an award-winning researcher who has devoted his life to studying and understanding the fundamental mechanisms of aging, disease and longevity. He certainly did not disappoint. You could hear a pin drop as the audience members listened seemingly captivated by Dr. Longo's eloquent delivery of his work.
Dr. Longo began with the question "How many more years would you live if for instance, cancer were to be eliminated?" Surprisingly only 4-5 years more. He then touched up on the core theme of his talk, intermittent fasting and healthy aging. The lecture addressed to the general public, was at times entertaining as he spoke of the life styles of famous centenarians and at times intriguing packed with interesting science.
The Q&A provided a flawless entry to the next act, a piece by the French composer Claude Debussy for flute solo Syrinx. Performed by this time, the flutist from the Gürzenich Orchestra Alja Velkaverh, the hall filled again with music. The hunting and rapturing resonance of the instrument felt raw as the melismatic vibration echoed brilliantly until the very last note vanished in to thin air.
What better way to follow up the mystic piece Syrinx then with a piece by the Indian composer Ravi Shankar. Often referred to as godfather of world music, Shankar has composed number of pieces for western instrumentation one of which is L'Aube Enchantee. Velkaverh has noted that Shankar lived to be 92 years of age and his secret, a vegetarian diet and “fooling” around, lots of it. The hypnotic rhythm juxtaposed with serene melody certainly felt as if it were intended to reduce blood levels of stress hormones.
The two pieces followed, a trio by Debussy and Ibert’s Entr’acte to cap the evening, both exquisitely delivered by the trio. Certainly there was no fasting here. The encore piece Carmen’s euphonious melody not only filled our hearts and minds but certainly to have added a few years to our lives. The packed hall of about 200 enthusiastic audience members applauded until the curtain drew.
by Helen Antebi