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Published On: Wed, Feb 18th, 2015

Conductor Sir Gilbert Levine to honor Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis in new Spring concert

A Celebration of Peace Through Music is a special televised concert created by American conductor Sir Gilbert Levine that took place on May 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

The concert features the Kraków Philharmonic Choir, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Washington Choral Arts Society. Through music, a language that supersedes all cultural boundaries, Levine leads these world-class vocal and orchestral ensembles in a moving tribute to Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis — three spiritual leaders recognized for their devotion to promoting understanding and peace around the world.

Sir Gilbert Levine conducts the concert “Peace Through Music ‘In Our Age’”  at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2014 Photo credit: Georgetown University

Sir Gilbert Levine conducts the concert “Peace Through Music ‘In Our Age’”
at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2014
Photo credit: Georgetown University

A Celebration of Peace Through Music is a two-hour show that will be broadcast on public media stations nationwide in Spring 2015, particularly around Easter 2015 — Sunday, April 5. (Check local listings.)

A world-renowned conductor, Levine has been a major presence on Public Television, leading the U.S. television debuts of some of the most important orchestras world-wide. Known as the “Pope’s Maestro” for his decades long friendship with Pope John Paul II, Sir Gilbert is uniquely qualified to lead this musical tribute.

A Celebration of Peace Through Music is a celebration of music and spirit, open to people of all faiths. Conducted by Levine, the concert honors the canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, in the spirit of Pope Francis.

Sir Gilbert Levine, conductor of A Celebration of Peace Through Music, with Pope John Paul II    Photo credit: Courtesy of Sir Gilbert Levine

Sir Gilbert Levine, conductor of A Celebration of Peace Through Music, with Pope John Paul II Photo credit: Courtesy of Sir Gilbert Levine

Each musical work performed was selected to reflect the spirit of these three great leaders and their commitment to peace and understanding among people of all faiths. This concert special also follows Sir Gilbert as he travels to Buenos Aires, Venice, Kraków, Rome, Vienna, and Washington, D.C., to show us all how music and spirit can unite our world.

The concert, performed in Washington, D.C., in May 2014, following Pope Francis’ ceremony to make Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II saints, was a joint effort by WETA Washington D.C., Georgetown University, the Archdiocese of Washington and the embassies the native countries of Pope John XXIII (Italy), Pope John Paul II (Poland) and Pope Francis (Argentina).

“WETA is pleased to join our distinguished partners in bringing this broadcast celebrating people of all faiths to our viewers,” stated Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and chief executive officer of WETA.

“As the premier public broadcasting station in the national capital area, it is our privilege to bring special Washington-area arts performances to audiences throughout the United States; we are delighted to present to the public this momentous concert event and its important message of tolerance and peace.”

“This spirit of peace through music is a legacy of these three towering spiritual leaders — Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, and Pope Francis — one that all of us can build on, whatever our faith tradition,” said Levine. “Music has the power to bring people together, to bridge any difference. Through its transcendent language on this singular, historic occasion our musical tribute to these three great men, offers a powerful uplifting message for our time.”

Crowds cheer Pope Francis during his visit to St. Joseph parish church in Rome on December 14, 2014   Photo Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Corbis courtesy of weta.org

Crowds cheer Pope Francis during his visit to St. Joseph parish church in Rome on December 14, 2014 Photo Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Corbis courtesy of weta.org

“We are pleased to partner with WETA and the Embassies of Argentina, Italy, Poland and the Holy See, to share this significant musical event,” said Paul Tagliabue, Chairman of the Board of Georgetown University. “Music is something that unites us all and helps bring meaning to the world. Current events show us that this music, and the popes’ messages of peace, needs to be heard today.”

Levine was inspired to create A Celebration of Peace Through Music when Pope Francis announced the dual canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. The conductor envisioned putting together a concert to celebrate religious liberty, peace and understanding.

A portrait of Pope Francis taken in Vatican City on August 5, 2014.   Photo credit: Daniele Cataldi/Demotix/Corbis courtesy of Weta.org

A portrait of Pope Francis taken in Vatican City on August 5, 2014. Photo credit: Daniele Cataldi/Demotix/Corbis courtesy of Weta.org

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