I am here to welcome graduates of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, their parents and other family members, their friends and colleagues. This is an important time and a chance to pause and reflect on all you’ve achieved and of the lives you have ahead of you. I congratulate all of you, and I congratulate and thank the staff and faculty of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music for helping you to arrive at this point.
Over the past few months I’ve been reading about the lives of many of the great composers. Foremost among them, for me, is Beethoven, whose monumental achievement changed western music and influenced every composer who followed him. Beethoven once made a statement that in many ways sums up the importance of music and of what all of you as teachers, scholars, and performers of music, have to offer to our world. Beethoven is reported to have said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.” I think that is a wonderful declaration.
I have to add, however, that my favorite statement by Beethoven is one he reportedly made after dismissing a housekeeper who was I assume his cook: “Only the pure of heart can make a good soup.”
Once again, I extend my best wishes to all of you. Enjoy the music, and enjoy the soup.